Venezuela's Maduro says he will skip U.N., but envoys will slam U.S. sanctions

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a meeting with soldiers at a military base in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday he will not travel to New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly later this month, but that two of his envoys would attend to denounce U.S. sanctions on the OPEC nation.

Maduro said Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza would attend the meeting and present the U.N. secretary general with a petition signed by 12 million Venezuelans criticizing the sanctions, part of the Trump administration’s effort to pressure Maduro to leave office.

“Here is the immense majority of the Venezuelan people saying no more blockade, no more sanctions,” Maduro said in a speech to the youth wing of the ruling socialist party. “This year I will stay with you all working in Venezuela, safely and calmly.”

Maduro, who Washington accuses of corruption and human rights violations, traveled at the last minute to New York last year after saying he may not because of an alleged assassination plot.

Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Darren Schuettler