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Lavrov denounces 'destructive' US policy on Venezuela

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Rabat (AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced Friday the United States' "destructive policy" on Venezuela, after Washington backed the opposition leader over President Nicolas Maduro.

"The (US) policy concerning Venezuela, as with many other countries, is destructive in my opinion, " Lavrov said during a press conference in Rabat with Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita after meeting King Mohamed VI.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will press UN Security Council members to recognise Juan Guaido as acting president of Venezuela during an upcoming crisis meeting, the State Department said Friday.

The United States has been joined by key players in the Americas in recognising Guaido as interim leader.

US President Donald Trump's administration has spearheaded the international pressure on Maduro, who accuses Washington of being behind an attempted "coup".

None of the other veto-wielding powers on the Security Council have formally backed Guaido.

"This (US) behaviour is unacceptable," Lavrov declared. "It undermines the principles of the UN Charter and the international community's standards," he said, adding Russia will defend its position at the Security Council.

Venezuela's descent into a political crisis this week began when a group of soldiers rose up against Maduro which sparked a number of protests leading up to rival rallies opposing or supporting the socialist leader.

Guaido then proclaimed himself acting president.

Russia is Venezuela's second-highest creditor after China, which has also sided with Maduro.

Last month Maduro announced, during a visit to Moscow, $6 billion of Russian investment in Venezuela's key oil and mining sectors.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced support for the Maduro regime "in the context of a domestic political crisis that has been provoked from the outside".

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