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Russia's Lavrov To Meet Venezuelan Counterpart Over Unrest


Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart on May 5.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his counterpart from Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, in Moscow on May 5 to discuss possible steps to help solve the power struggle that is crippling the South American nation.

"There will be an exchange of views on the situation in Venezuela and around it in connection with the attempted coup d'état in this country, on the prospects for a political and diplomatic settlement of differences within the framework of the Venezuelan Constitution, as well as options for international mediation efforts to facilitate the dialogue between the government and the opposition," Russia's Foreign Ministry said on May 4.

The talks will come ahead of Lavrov's scheduled meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week in Finland amid simmering tensions between Moscow and Washington over the crisis in Venezuela.

Washington views President Nicolas Maduro's reelection last year as illegitimate and has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Russia, Iran, China, and Cuba are among countries supporting Maduro, who started a second term in January following a May 2018 election marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging, leading to mass street protests.

Moscow, which has substantial economic ties to Maduro's government, sent planes to Venezuela in March, carrying nearly 100 military personnel who the U.S. government believes included special forces and cybersecurity experts to Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's Supreme Court has ordered the rearrest of influential opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez -- who on April 30 appeared alongside Guaido after being freed from house arrest.

On April 30, Guaido called for a military uprising against Maduro, prompting Venezuelan National Guard troops to fire tear gas at protesters who took to the streets following Guaido's call.

Lopez has since taken refuge at the Spanish Embassy. Madrid has said it would not hand over Lopez to Venezuelan authorities, nor would it ask him to leave.

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