Maduro responsible for safety of Colombian embassy staff: minister

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro talks to supporters during a rally in support of the government in Caracas, Venezuela February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

CUCUTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is responsible for the safety of Colombian diplomats in Venezuela, Colombia’s foreign minister said on Saturday, after Maduro formally broke off relations with Bogota.

“Colombia holds the usurper Maduro responsible for any aggression or violation of the rights of Colombian officials in Venezuela,” Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said.

Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, said in the same statement that Maduro, socialist, could not break relations with Colombia because he is not Venezuela’s legitimate president.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido last month declared himself to be the country’s interim president, prompting a large group of nations, including the United States, to recognize his interim presidency.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Paul Simao