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Diplomat slams attempts to create parallel government agencies in Venezuela

Maduro’s decision to convene the Constituent Assembly has led to the exacerbation of the situation in thecountry

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Russia warns the opposition in Venezuela against attempts to create parallel government agencies and considers the outcomes of the referendum held on July 16 dubious, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Artyom Kozhin said on Thursday.

"We believe that the steps taken by the opposition to create parallel government structures at an early date, in particular, to launch the procedure for appointing new Supreme Court judges by the parliament are extremely dangerous," the diplomat said.

"The degree of the political standoff in Venezuella has increased after the opposition held the so-called popular referendum on July 16," he stressed. Kozhin noted that the voting was conducted with considerable violations in the absence of independent observers, which makes "its data unverifiable."

"Statements made by the leaders of some countries, including US President [Donald] Trump, which described the voting as the expression of will of the entire Venezuelan people calling on the government to cancel the elections to the Constituent Assembly scheduled for July 30 and threatening to impose sanctions, seem strange," he said.

"It is impossible to reach consensus considering destructive outside interference, pressure and the threat of sanctions," the diplomat went on to say. "The responsible world community should unite rather than provoke."

According to Kozhin, Moscow "maintains contacts with various political and public figures in and outside Venezuela, including about the origin of the current political situation." "All constructive opinions should be heeded, but that is impossible amid protests," he concluded. "Violence to please extremists is a dead-end road."

Situation in Venezuela

On Sunday, political opponents of President Nicolas Maduro held the so-called popular referendum, with more than 7,6 million people taking part in it, according to their estimates. Judging by the available data, more than 98% of those who took part in the referendum spoke out against convening the Constituent Assembly without holding a preliminary referendum. Elections to this body, which can reform the system of government and amend Venezuela’s Constitution, were scheduled for July 30. The government does not consider the poll organized by the opposition legally binding and questions the reliability of its results.

After the outcome of the plebiscite was made public, some Western countries urged the Venezuelan authorities to cancel the elections to the Constituent Assembly due to be held on July 30.

Maduro’s decision to convene the Constituent Assembly has led to the exacerbation of the situation in the country.

Venezuela has seen the biggest anti-government protests in recent years since April. The decisions by the country’s Supreme Court expanding presidential powers and restricting the role played by the parliament were used as a pretext for them. More than 90 people have been killed since then, about 1,500 others were wounded, and several thousand people were taken into custody.