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Venezuela calls on EU to ‘reconsider’ its ‘permanent interference’


Caracas – The European Union should reconsider its policy of “permanent interference’’ in Venezuela’s internal affairs, Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said on Thursday, a day after Caracas announced the expulsion of the German ambassador.

“Venezuela hopes that the EU will recover BALANCE and RECONSIDER its positions of permanent interference in our internal affairs.

“Its clear alignment with Washington’s strategy of aggression and its support for the unconstitutional acts of the extremist opposition,’’ Arreaza tweeted.

The minister made the comment a day after Caracas declared German ambassador, Daniel Kriener, persona non grata, accusing him of interference.

Germany is one of the countries backing opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president and is trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power.

“Kriener was at Caracas airport waiting for Guaido when he returned from a Latin America tour on Monday,’’ the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said.

However, diplomats from other European countries, the U.S. and Latin America were also at the airport, and it was not clear why the government focused its criticism on Germany.

Venezuela earlier severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. and Colombia, both of which have lent strong backing to Guaido.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said that his country’s support for the opposition leader remained “unquestionable.’’

However, Maduro also stood his ground, calling on Venezuelans to have “nerves of steel”.

“In the face of the imperial aggressions, I ratify before any circumstance: nerves of steel, calm and sanity, full awareness and permanent mobilisation, we shall continue to win’’ he tweeted.

Defence Minister, Vladimir Padrino, said on Wednesday that the government was evaluating permanent military deployment plans “to face imperial aggressions against the fatherland’’.

Guaido said that Kriener’s expulsion was a threat to Germany.

“The Maduro administration was verbally threatening the ambassador and his physical integrity is also at risk,’’ the opposition leader told Thursday’s edition of Germany’s Spiegel news magazine.

According to him, Maduro is not able to declare an ambassador persona non grata, because he occupies the presidency illegally.

“He had, therefore, asked Kriener to stay,’’ Guaido said.

The Maduro government had declared the diplomat persona non grata on Wednesday and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.

According to Guaido, it is not necessary for the German government to expel the Venezuelan ambassador from Berlin in retaliation “because he is no longer recognised’’.

“We have already named a new diplomatic representative in Germany,’’ he said.

Guaido called on Europe to clearly reject the deportation and to tighten financial sanctions against the Maduro government.

The European Commission’s foreign policy spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, also reacted to the expulsion.

“We regret the fact that German ambassador is pressed to leave the country.

“In spite of a tense and complex political context, the European Union has been keen to maintain lines of communication with all key parties in Venezuela, including the government of Maduro.

“And from that perspective, the European Union hopes that this decision can be reconsidered,’’ she added.  (dpa/NAN)

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