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Maduro denounces election call by European countries

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro rejected an international ultimatum to call elections within eight days and stressed that opposition leader Juan Guaido had violated the country’s constitution by declaring himself leader.

Maduro, in an interview with CNN Turk aired on Sunday, stated that he was open to dialogue and that meeting US President Donald Trump was improbable but not impossible.

On Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Government Spokeswoman Martina Fietz declared their countries will recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless elections are announced within eight days. Later, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt backed the demand promising Britain would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Russia stressed that the United States’ “conductor’s baton” can be seen behind demands coming from some European countries to call elections in Venezuela within eight days.

Guaido proclaimed himself as the country’s acting president on Wednesday, but Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with Washington.

Trump announced his decision to recognize Guaido as the “interim president”, minutes after the latter swore himself in, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Maduro to step down and called on the country’s military to support efforts to restore what he referred to as “democracy”.