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Venezuelan defense minister pledges loyalty to Maduro

January 30, 17:03 UTC+3 CARACAS

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that Nicolas Maduro is Venezuela’s only legitimate president

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Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez

Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez

© AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

CARACAS, January 30. /TASS/. Nicolas Maduro is Venezuela’s only legitimate president, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said on Wednesday speaking to the troops.

"Today, we reaffirm here our loyalty to the Motherland, to our revolutionary democratic principles and to our constitution and our president. There is only one legitimate president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. He is Nicolas Maduro Moros, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Bolivarian Armed Forces," Padrino Lopez said urging the service members to defend Maduro in line with their oath.

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless Maduro called elections by February 3.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

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