Maduro rejects European demands for new election

Praise and controversy greet Abrams as new US Venezuela envoy

SA backs beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro

"Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem", United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the United Nations Security Council on Saturday, according to Reuters World.

The U.S. State Department has accepted a new Venezuelan envoy in Washington who was appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Colonel Jose Luis Silva declared himself a supporter of Guaido, saying: "He is the only legitimate president".

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro rejected worldwide demands to call new elections Sunday, as the political crisis in his country deepens days after the opposition leader declared himself interim president.

"Australia calls for a transition to democracy in Venezuela as soon as possible", Senator Payne said.

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"Any violence and intimidation against US diplomatic personnel, Venezuela's democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response", Bolton wrote on Twitter.

But on Saturday Guaido, 35, gained support from a key military official. His declaration during a day of widespread anti-government demonstrations has been followed by violent clashes between protesters and security forces that have killed at least two dozen people in recent days. "This is complete insolence", Maduro added, as he described the European countries' actions as a "mistake".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has rejected calls by European nations to hold early elections, calling the opposition leader's self-declaration as president constitutionally null.

"Any violence and intimidation against USA diplomatic personnel, Venezuela's democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response", Bolton tweeted Sunday.

Pope Francis, winding up a trip to Panama, said on Sunday he was praying that "a just and peaceful solution is reached to overcome the crisis, respecting human rights". "It's that simple, especially when it comes to Venezuela".

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The UK, Germany, France and Spain - all high-profile members of the United Nations with rights in the Security Council - said they would join the United States' coalition if, by the end of the eight-day ultimatem, Maduro has not called for free and fair elections.

Several years ago, the Vatican was frustrated in its attempt to mediate between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela's opposition, which has the backing of many Venezuelan bishops.

"Let the Venezuelan people determine their future".

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry says it has extended a deadline for USA diplomats to leave following it's rupture in relations.

Guaido urged the military, Maduro's most powerful backers, to sever ties with the "dictator" in exchange for an amnesty.

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Maduro gave USA diplomats three days to leave the country, but the Trump administration said it wouldn't obey, arguing that Maduro is no longer Venezuela's legitimate president. Maduro has since backed down and has agreed to 30 days to finalize the diplomats' roles in Venezuela.

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