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Venezuela suspends expulsion of US diplomats | News



Venezuela postponed a riot with the United States by suspending a demand for US diplomats to leave the country when Washington urged the world to "pick a side" in the South American country's rapid crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro broke relations with the United States on Wednesday after the Trump administration and many other nations in the region recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's temporary president, a move Maduro called a coup attempt.

Maduro originally gave US diplomats three days to leave the country, but the Trump administration said it would not obey and claimed that Maduro is no longer Venezuela's legitimate president. It set the stage for a showdown at the US Embassy hilltop compound Saturday evening when the deadline was to expire.

But when the sun set on Venezuela's capital, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement that Maduro's government suspended the deportation to give a 30-day window to negotiate with US officials establishing an "American interest office" in Venezuela. and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States.

The United States and Cuba had a similar event for decades before the Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with the Communist island.

The Prime Minister's Office did not confirm the Venezuelan Government's account and only reiterated that its priority remains the security of its staff and that it has no plans to close the Embassy.

Don't test the United States

Earlier in Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council that he fully expects diplomats to continue to receive protection under the Vienna Convention.

"Don't test the US for our willingness to protect our people," he warned.

At the Security Council's meeting, critics and supporters of the Maduro government came out reflecting the deep divisions of Venezuela committed in political confrontation, as well as a financial collapse that forced millions to flee the country.

During the debate, which was requested by the United States, Pompeo urged all nations to end Venezuela's "nightmare" and support Guaido.

"Now it's time for any other national to choose a site," Pompeo said. "No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you're in league with Maduro and his chaos."

The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said the Trump administration is trying to "construct a coup" against Maduro. He said that Venezuela does not threaten international peace and security, and he accused "extremist opponents" of the Maduro government of choosing "maximum confrontation", including artificial creation of a parallel government.

Nebenzia claimed that the United Nations involvement in the Venezuelan crisis constituted a violation of the nation's sovereignty and urged Pompeo to say whether the United States would use military force.

Pompeo later told reporters who asked for an answer: "I am not going to speculate or hypothesize what the United States will do next."

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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