CARACAS, February 3. /TASS/. The participants of the people’s militia will be included in the Venezuelan armed forces, President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday.
"I ordered to include the militiamen in our National Bolivarian Armed Forces as officers and soldiers," he tweeted.
"If we want peace, we should be ready to protect it," he added.
Maduro declared earlier the establishment of more than 50,000 people’s militia units in Venezuela in the coming months. There will be 2 million militiamen in the country by May, Maduro said.
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. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.
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.