May 20, 2018 / 6:15 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. will not recognize Venezuela election result: State Department

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The United States will not recognize the result of Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told journalists.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri shakes hands with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan alongside Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie during a meeting ahead of the G20 Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 20, 2018. Argentine Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The United States is actively considering oil sanctions on Venezuela and Sullivan said a response to Sunday’s vote would be discussed at a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on Monday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was seeking a six-year term in a Sunday election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by foes as the “coronation” of a dictator. Results are expected by late evening.

“We need to make sure we adhere to our goal which is to target corrupt regime officials and not the people of Venezuela,” Sullivan said. “We don’t want to damage the country in a way that makes it difficult to repair after democracy is restored.”

A Venezuelan casts her vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

He called oil sanctions “a very significant step.” “They are under active review,” he said.

Sullivan also said he knew of no plan to withdraw U.S. assistance from northwest Syria.

CBS news reported on Friday the Trump administration had withdrawn all assistance from northwest Syria, a move it said demonstrated the administration intended to leave quickly once Islamic State is fully defeated.

“I’ve not heard of any decision by this administration to withdraw assistance from northwest Syria,” he said in comments to Reuters and Bloomberg.

“The U.S. government... is committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and protecting U.S. interests in the region in Syria and Iraq.”

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Additional reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sandra Maler

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