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Trump to meet with Venezuela's Guaido: White House

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Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump will receive Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Wednesday for talks on how to speed a democratic transition in his country, the White House said.

Guaido, whom the United States and more than 50 other countries recognize as Venezuela's acting president, is seeking renewed international support for his push to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

The Oval Office meeting at 2:15 pm (1915 GMT) follows Trump's vow in a State of the Union speech Tuesday night -- with Guaido in the audience as his guest -- that "Maduro's grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken."

"The visit is an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the people of Venezuela and to discuss how we can work with President Guaido to expedite a democratic transition in Venezuela that will end the ongoing crisis," the White House said in a statement.

"We will continue to work with our partners in the region to confront the illegitimate dictatorship in Venezuela, and we will stand alongside the Venezuelan people to ensure a future that is democratic and prosperous," it said.

Maduro so far has weathered Guaido's yearlong push for his ouster, which initially spark massive anti-government protest but has since lost momentum despite a deep economic crisis that has driven millions to emigrate.

As head of the National Assembly, Guaido proclaimed himself acting president in January 2019 after the legislature declared Maduro a "usurper" who was re-elected through fraud.

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