AP NEWS

German minister: Envoys helped prevent Guaido arrest

March 7, 2019
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Venezuelan Congress President Juan Guaido, an opposition leader who declared himself interim president, speaks during a rally demanding the resignation of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, next to his wife Fabiana Rosales in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, March 4, 2019. The United States and about 50 other countries recognize Guaido as the rightful president of Venezuela, while Maduro says he is the target of a U.S.-backed coup plot (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

BERLIN (AP) — The presence of foreign diplomats at the Caracas airport earlier this week helped prevent the arrest of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, Germany’s foreign minister said Thursday.

Heiko Maas said he expressly asked Germany’s ambassador to Venezuela, Daniel Kriener, to join other envoys at the airport on Monday.

He told reporters in Berlin on that “there was information that he (Guaido) was meant to be arrested there, and I think the presence of various ambassadors contributed to helping prevent this arrest.”

On Wednesday, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced it was giving Kriener 48 hours to leave the country, a move seen as a response to Germany’s support for Guaido.

Maas said that “the decision by the Venezuelan government, or rather the Maduro regime in Caracas, to expel Ambassador Kriener as ‘persona non grata’ is in no way comprehensible or acceptable for us.”

He added that Germany will continue to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president and support him in holding fresh elections.