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Maduro says he severed only diplomatic relations with US

 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said Friday that he severed only diplomatic relations with the United States while social and economic ties with the country "continue and will develop."

"Our relations with the US are multifaceted. We severed diplomatic and political relations with the Trump Administration but will continue to maintain relations with people, with universities, social movementes and commercial sectors," Maduro told a press conference broadcast on Twitter.

He added that Venezuela will continue "selling oil that the US needs."

On January 23 Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the country's acting president. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with the United States. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that the armed forces do not recognize Guaido as interim president.

Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States. Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis. Maduro was supported by Russia, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey. Belarus and China called for resolving all issues by peaceful means and spoke against any interference from the outside. The UN secretary general called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

[Source: Itar Tass, Caracas, 25Jan19]

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