BERLIN, February 4. /TASS/. The German government recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the republic’s interim president, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday.
"We recognize Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela and he faces the task of launching political transition and leading the country along the path of holding free, transparent and trustworthy elections," she said.
As the spokeswoman said, the German authorities earlier announced an eight-day deadline for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to call early elections.
"Maduro did not fulfil this demand," Fietz claimed.
On his part, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Broil noted that the German authorities lamented Maduro’s decision.
"We, like the EU, constantly demanded free access to international humanitarian aid but to no avail up to now," he said.
As the spokesman said, Germany "allocated 5 million euros as humanitarian aid to Venezuela," which will be placed at Venezuela’s disposal as soon as the situation in the country permitted for that."
As the German Foreign Ministry spokesman said, the EU made a decision to set up an international contact group that should help launch a peaceful and democratic process for the purpose of holding new elections.
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. Subsequently, Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections. France, Spain, Sweden and the UK announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Guaido had the ability and the legitimacy to organize new presidential elections.
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.
On January 29, Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA and later transferred control of some of Venezuela’s assets in US banks to Guaido.