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The Latest: Diplomats urge Venezuela’s Maduro to cede power

January 4, 2019
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Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, right, and Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Leslie, left, attend a meeting of the Lima Group concerning Venezuela in Lima, Peru, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. A coalition of international leaders gather in Lima to define a strategy for resolving Venezuela's growing crisis ahead of President Nicolas Maduro's Jan. 10 inauguration to a second term, which is widely dismissed as illegitimate. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The Latest on a regional meeting about Venezuela’s political crisis. (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

A dozen Latin American governments have urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to abstain from being sworn in for a second term next week and cede power until new elections can be held. They say it is the only way to restore democracy in the South American nation.

The strong rebuke came following a meeting Friday of high-ranking diplomats from the 12 regional governments and Canada in Peru’s capital to discuss Venezuela’s crisis ahead of Maduro’s plans to be sworn in Jan. 10 for a second term he won in elections widely condemned as illegitimate.

Mexico also partook in the meeting of the so-called Lima Group but didn’t sign the statement.

The group also called for a toughening of sanctions against Maduro’s government and expressed support for efforts to initiate proceedings against his government at the International Criminal Court.

Maduro has disavowed the group’s recommendations in the past and his foreign minister on Friday accused the countries of taking orders from U.S. President Donald Trump.

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