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Russia warns Venezuela's Guaido against inviting US invasion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on January 30, 2019. (By AFP)

Russia has warned Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido against "inviting foreign intervention" under the cover of aid shipments, reiterating his country’s call for dialogue between the Caracas government and the opposition.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday expressed Russia’s concern about "threats from the US that are actively supported... by Venezuela's opposition, essentially inviting foreign intervention."

He added that "whether direct or under cover of humanitarian aid," such an intervention is "unlikely to bring the result (Guaido) seeks."

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Tuesday that the military was on alert on the country’s frontiers after Guaido vowed to bring the alleged aid in from various points on Saturday “one way or another.”

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Maduro has denounced the aid, saying US President Donald Trump is using Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis as a cover-up for his military plans in the country.

The US has several times threatened to take military action against Venezuela to topple the elected government of Maduro.

Padrino’s remarks came after Trump warned that members of the country’s military would be risking their future and their lives by remaining loyal to Maduro and refusing to allow in the so-called humanitarian aid blocked at the Colombian border.

Lavrov denounced the US threats as "unquestionably a violation of the UN charter and direct meddling in domestic affairs of an independent country."

Russia’s top diplomat also reiterated his country’s call for dialogue in Venezuela, and expressed hope that Guaido "would respond to initiatives that suggest inclusive dialogue between all of Venezuela's political forces."

"Results can only come from inclusive political dialogue," he said.

The Latin American country has been in political turmoil since last month, when Guaido, a lawmaker who leads the defunct National Assembly, disputed last year’s reelection of Maduro and proclaimed himself the “interim president” of the country.

Guaido was quickly recognized by the United States and a number of its Latin American allies.

Several European Union states later followed suit after Caracas rejected a call to organize a new presidential election within an eight-day period set by the 28-nation bloc.

The Western-backed opposition blames Maduro for an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items, urging him to resign.

Maduro has accused Guaido of staging a Washington-engineered coup d’état, calling on him to abandon his coup-mongering strategies and engage, instead, in constructive dialogue with the government.

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