EU 'risks pushing Venezuela towards civil war' after parliament recognises Guaido

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EU 'risks pushing Venezuela towards civil war' after parliament recognises Guaido
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The European Union risks pushing Venezuela towards civil war, rather than democracy, the country's ambassador warned after the European Parliament recognised Juan Guaidó as interim President.

The resolution was approved with the votes of the two main groups: the conservative European People's Party and Socialists. MEPs also called on EU Governments and Institutions to do the same until new free and transparent elections are called

In an interview with Euronews, Venezuela's ambassador to the EU, Claudia Salerno, said this will fuel tensions in the country and urged the European member states to act with responsibility.

"The European Parliament can not consider itself above the Security Council. The important thing is to ask whether the European Union is willing to take a step forward to bring Venezuela into a situation of civil war; that is the question that must be asked," Salerno said.

"Not if Venezuela wants to make changes. Venezuela has been making profound changes for the last 20 years in its democracy and institutions and it’s always been the people’s choice."

The resolution approved by the parliament calls for the creation of a contact group that can mediate to reach an agreement for the convocation of "free, transparent and credible presidential elections, based on an agreed calendar, on equal conditions for all actors, transparency and the presence of international observers".

The opposition immediately welcomed the European Parliament vote.

But the former mayor of Caracas, who was in the parliament to listen to the debate, issued a warning.

"If they’re going to create a workgroup or something like that, then it has to be clear that we would only accept a workgroup to define the terms of the end of usurpation. Not false statements or negotiations that back Maduro. Everything must be to end the narcotyranny," Antonio Ledezma, opposition leader and ex-mayor of Caracas told Euronews.

Guaido was proclaimed interim president last week by the Venezuelan National Assembly, which he heads, after it ruled that Nicholas Maduro's re-election as president was flawed. He has been recognised by the US, but the European Union's foreign affairs arm has been more cautious and refused to take sides definitively.