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Venezuela’s government cannot decide on Guaido’s arrest, says top diplomat

Jorge Arreaza said the people want "justice and respect for the law, they demand that the system of justice be effective"

MOSCOW, May 6. /TASS/. The Venezuelan government is not authorized to make a decision on the arrest of opposition leader Juan Guaido on charges of attempted coup, it is up to other state agencies to make such decisions, the country’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

"There is some information concerning these events and people involved in the [attempted] coup, which has been provided by the country’s prosecutor general. The judicial authorities have opened an investigation," he said. "The Constitutional Assembly has stripped Guaido of immunity but it is not up to the government to decide whether to arrest him or not. Other state agencies must make a decision on the matter," Arreaza added.

"The Venezuelan people want justice and respect for the law, they demand that the system of justice be effective because if democracy is under attack and the law is violated then necessary measures must be taken," the Venezuelan top diplomat emphasized.

Situation in Venezuela

According to Peskov, "the meeting’s participants paid much attention to the situation in Venezuela in light of the news about an attempted coup."

On January 23, 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, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria 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.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court barred Guaido from leaving the country. However, on February 22, he traveled to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, which hosts a humanitarian aid distribution center. Guaido returned to Venezuela after visiting Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Ecuador. In early April, the country’s Constituent National Assembly later granted the Supreme Court’s request to strip Guaido of parliamentary immunity.

On April 30, Guaido posted a video on Twitter, calling on the Venezuelan military to take to the streets to end the "usurpation." He claimed that the video had been recorded at the Francisco de Miranda airbase in Caracas. The video shows Guaido, a group of army officers and leader of the Voluntad Popular (or Popular Will) opposition party Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently under house arrest. Arreaza later blamed the coup attempt on Colombia’s authorities.