February 16, 2019 / 11:28 AM / 5 months ago

U.S. tells European Union to recognize Guaido as Venezuela president

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, speaks during a meeting with representatives of the oil sector in Caracas, Venezuela, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

MUNICH (Reuters) - The European Union must recognize Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaido as the president of the South American country, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday, pressing not just individual European governments but the bloc as a whole.

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Pence said Guaido, who has declared himself interim leader and has won U.S. and international support to replace Nicolas Maduro, deserved that “the rest of the world” recognize him, and called Maduro a dictator who must step down.

“It is time for the rest of the world to step forward. Once more the old world can take a stand in support of freedom in the new world ... Today we call on the European Union to step forward for freedom and recognize Juan Guaido as the only legitimate president of Venezuela,” Pence said.

Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Potter

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