January 28, 2019 / 7:51 PM / 23 days ago

Lima Group bloc will meet in Canada on Feb. 4 for Venezuela talks

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido accompanied by his wife Fabiana Rosales, speaks to the media after a holy mass in Caracas, Venezuela, January 27, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will host a meeting of the Lima Group regional bloc on Feb. 4 to discuss what to do next about Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, a top official said on Monday.

Most members of the 14-nation bloc do not recognize President Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. The United States vowed to starve Maduro’s administration of oil revenue after he was sworn in Jan. 10 for a second term that was widely dubbed illegitimate.

“Maduro has created an economic, political and humanitarian crisis ... (which) poses huge security, humanitarian and migration challenges for our entire hemisphere,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters.

“Canada will host an urgent meeting of the Lima Group of countries here in Ottawa on Monday Feb. 4 to discuss what steps we can take to support interim president Juan Guaido and the people of Venezuela,” Freeland said.

She did not specify which members of the bloc would attend. Mexico’s new government has said it will not take sides and brands support for Guaido a violation of sovereignty.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish and Grant McCool

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