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France accuses Venezuela of harassing Caracas embassy, summons envoy

France's ambassador to Venezuela, Romain Nadal, in Caracas on November 14, 2017.
France's ambassador to Venezuela, Romain Nadal, in Caracas on November 14, 2017. © Juan Barreto, AFP

France has summoned Venezuela's envoy over accusations President Nicolas Maduro's government has been harassing its embassy in Caracas, including by cutting water and electricity to the ambassador's residence, diplomats said on Thursday.

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France is among dozens of nations which do not recognise Maduro's disputed 2018 re-election and consider opposition leader Juan Guaido to be Venezuela's rightful president.

Maduro has previously accused French ambassador Romain Nadal of meddling in internal affairs, and diplomats say the services to his home in Caracas have been cut since the start of May.

"France strongly condemns the measures taken in recent days, which hinder the normal functioning of our diplomatic mission in Caracas," deputy foreign ministry spokesman Olivier Gauvin said in a statement, adding that the measures contravened the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

"French officials expect these measures to be rescinded without delay in order to restore normal operations at our diplomatic mission."

 

Venezuela's embassy in Paris could not be immediately reached for comment.

President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Guaido at the presidential palace in January, reiterating calls for free and transparent elections in the country.

Diplomats said that this, and the fact French diplomats were at the airport when Guaido returned to Caracas in February, may have prompted Maduro's government to ramp up pressure on European countries in the Venezuelan capital.

"There are too many factors to think that this is a coincidence and other diplomatic missions have also been affected by this," said a French official.

(REUTERS)

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