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EU States Called on to Recognize Venezuela Opposition Leader

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Parliament is calling on the European Union’s member states to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president.

The 28-member bloc is still defining its position on the crisis there amid differing opinions among members about what course of action to take.

Carlos Vecchio, Marco Rubio,

Venezuelan opposition’s new envoy in Washington Carlos Vecchio, center, accompanied by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., second from left, Chairman Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, left, and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., right, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The bloc didn’t come out in support of Guaido after a meeting of foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania to discuss the crisis, but EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced the establishment of a 90-day international conduct group with a group of EU and Latin American states to “promote common understanding aiming at a peaceful and democratic outcome.”

She said the group wanted “a credible process to emerge….enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future.”

She also said the objective of the group was “not to open formal dialogue, but to support (the) political dynamic.”

Group members are France, Germany, Spain and Britain from the EU, and Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia and Costa Rica on the Latin American side.

Mogherini said the initiative would be reviewed after 90 days and the group would be terminated if there was no progress.

The EU legislature approved by a 439-104 margin a resolution that also condemned the continued violence and the detention of journalists who sought to cover events there.

“All of Venezuela is watching us,” said Esteban Gonzalez Pons of the Christian Democrat EPP group. “Let’s make Venezuelan history today by recognizing the democratic and legitimate power of Venezuela.”

Earlier, Mogherini called on the South American country to release journalists who were arrested covering the crisis.

On Thursday, Spain’s state-run EFE news agency says three of its journalists were freed after being detained overnight in Venezuela’s capital. Two French journalists were also freed from detention, and two Chilean journalists were ordered deported.

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