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Lavrov warns US likely to pull off Venezuela-style coup plot in other countries

Washington is trying to plug Tokyo into its military strategy of confrontation with Moscow, Sergey Lavrov claimed

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. The United States might attempt to repeat the government-toppling plot carried out in Venezuela elsewhere, Russian Acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference outlining the results of Russia's diplomatic efforts in 2019.

"It is very difficult to make predictions about the future and particularly how our US colleagues will act. You listed a few examples of their behavior [Washington’s backing of protests from Latin America to Hong Kong — TASS]. It is hard to foresee what can be introduced this year, but nothing can be ruled out," Lavrov responded to a question whether new attempts to oust governments can be expected in 2020 as the US wanted to do in Venezuela in 2019.

The political crisis in Venezuela exacerbated on January 23, when 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. Several countries, including the United States, most of the EU states, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as the legitimate leader. Incumbent President of the country Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.

To resolve the crisis, a few rounds of indirect talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition were held in Oslo in May organized through the offices of Norway. The last stage of the talks was launched in Barbados on July 8 but was put on hold in August by the government that explained its decision by citing "dangerous and brazen aggression" on part of US authorities referring to new sanctions imposed by Washington.

On January 13, President of the Venezuelan Constituent National Assembly Diosdado Cabello told a press conference in Caracas that authorities are ready to return to the negotiating table with opposition members to discuss the country’s future.

US dragging Japan into its policy of confrontation with Russia

Washington tries to plug Tokyo into its military strategy of confrontation with Moscow, Sergey Lavrov claimed.

"If you take a look at the documents, statements and decisions that are adopted within the framework of this alliance [of the United States and Japan], you will see that the US uses this alliance for asserting its policy of containing Russia and treating it as an adversary. Japan is part of this strategy of its closest ally, the United States," Lavrov said. "Of course, we wish clarity, we wish to understand in what way our further cooperation will be developing in a situation where the Americans try to plug Japan into its policy, officially proclaimed as targeted against Russia."

He recalled that the US missile defense systems being stationed in Japan might be used for launching cruise missiles. "These are weapons that were outlawed under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — as long as it remained in effect," Lavrov stated. "This is tantamount to the possibility of attack weapons being stationed near our borders."

At the same time Lavrov stressed, "we have no suspicion of the Japanese leadership and the Japanese political elite hatching some malicious schemes against Russia."