Russia, China block U.S. push for U.N. to back Venezuela’s Guaido

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia, China, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea blocked on Saturday a U.S. push for a U.N. Security Council statement expressing full support for Venezuela’s National Assembly as the country’s “only democratically elected institution.”

The move came ahead of meeting of the 15-member body on Saturday, at the request of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after Washington and a string of countries in the region recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as head of state and urged President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

Russia opposes the U.S. efforts and has accused Washington of backing a coup attempt, placing Venezuela at the heart of a growing geopolitical duel.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by William Maclean

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