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International groups focused on Venezuela crisis meet at UN

June 3, 2019
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Chile's Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero, left, Peru's Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio, center, and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, members of the Lima Group, attend a news conference after their meeting at United Nations headquarters, Monday, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Two international groups trying to foster a solution to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela want to get participation in the effort from countries that are supporting embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

The Lima Group and the International Contact Group met Monday at U.N. headquarters. The Lima Group and some International Contact Group members consider opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó to be Venezuela’s rightful leader, arguing that Maduro’s re-election a year ago was illegitimate because strong opponents were barred from running.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio said members decided to ask nations backing Maduro’s government to “be part of the solution ... to get a transition” and new elections in Venezuela.

A U.N. envoy for Russia, which supports Maduro, said earlier Monday that any initiative that respects Venezuela’s constitution and “legitimate government” can contribute. But Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said Moscow isn’t “seeking to get involved in each and every effort.”

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