Australia recognises Maduro rival Juan Guaido as interim Venezuela president

The Morrison government has backed in the White House and recognised opposition figure Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president..

The move comes after US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said that it was now time for countries to “pick a side” on Venezuela during an address to the United Nations security council in New York.

“Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem. Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games,” he said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday that earlier in January Canberra had urged embattled Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, not to assume his claimed title.

“Australia supported the Lima Group’s early call for Nicolas Maduro to refrain from assuming the presidency on 10 January, relayed through our non-resident Ambassador to Venezuela,” she said in a statement.

She said Australia had now chosen to back Mr Guaidó and call for an election.

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