Britain on Thursday said Nicolas Maduro was “not the legitimate leader of Venezuela” and that London would support the presidential claim made by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

“The United Kingdom believes Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward. We are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.

Hunt was speaking ahead of a meeting in Washington with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina have all recognised Guaido’s claim to the presidency, made on Wednesday.

His comments pointed to emerging foreign policy differences between London and the European Union, which Britain is due to leave on March 29.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European leaders have voiced support for the protests raging against Maduro but have been cautious on specifically endorsing Guaido.

Hunt firmly condemned “the discredited Maduro regime,” saying it “has caused untold suffering to its people”.

“The election on May 20 was deeply flawed; ballot boxes were stuffed, there were counting irregularities and the opposition was banned,” he said in reference to last year’s presidential vote.


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