Venezuela's Maduro rejects European Union demand for new elections

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President Maduro of Venezuela has said he won't bow down to an ultimatum from five European countries to call fresh elections.

Short of stepping up political and economic pressure, it's unclear how the USA could force out Maduro, who was re-elected in a 2018 vote widely seen as rigged.

"I am not going to speculate or hypothesize on what the US will do next", Pompeo later told reporters who asked for a response.

However, Mexico - once a vocal member of the Lima Group regional bloc created to pressure Maduro to enact democratic reforms - struck a discordant note under new leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, saying it would not take sides and branding support for Guaido a violation of sovereignty. Guaido is instead urging the USA diplomats to stay and keep the embassy's doors open.

"The American news agencies and The Washington Post reported on January 22 that this coup attempt order had been given to Guaido by Trump himself", Maduro said.

Addressing soldiers in an appearance on state TV, Maduro asked whether they were plotting with the "imperialist" United States, which he accused of openly leading a coup against him.

Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said on Saturday they would recognise Guaido if Maduro failed to call fresh elections within eight days, an ultimatum Russian Federation said was "absurd" and the Venezuelan foreign minister called "childlike".

The United States, Canada and most Latin American nations have backed Guaido as interim president.

Maduro, 56, is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, citing a fraudulent election.

At a special UN Security Council session Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Maduro as part of an "illegitimate mafia state" responsible for Venezuela's economic collapse.

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Speaking to CNN Turk, Mr Maduro said Venezuela has held numerous elections of late - including presidential elections in May (which the United States and several Latin American nations did not recognise as legitimate) - and the European countries should withdraw their demand.

Such concepts of high finance make little sense to Pineda, who nonetheless said she is willing to eke out a meager existence if that is what it takes to get rid of Maduro. This is the US supporting the people of Venezuela, who want their constitution and democracy followed.

In line with a request from Guaido, his supporters on Sunday circulated copies of amnesty measures approved by the National Assembly to friends and relatives in the military.

Venezuela has defused a potential showdown with the United States by suspending a demand that USA diplomats leave the country even as Washington called on the world to "pick a side" in the South American nation's fast-moving crisis. "Do not test the United States on our resolve to protect our people".

Talks about an interest section will have a 30-day limit and if no agreement is reached embassy personnel will then have to leave the country, according to the statement.

Pompeo urged nations to end financial transactions with Maduro's government, which has struggled to pay bills despite the country's oil wealth.

Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009.

Maduro noted the diplomatic staff of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas had left his country, however, the both sides agreed to continue negotiations for the protection of officials in the two countries.

On his first day on the job, Abrams met with exiled leaders of Venezuela's opposition.

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