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European Countries Call for Presidential Election in Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido waves to supporters during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 2, 2019.

Britain, along with Spain, France and Sweden and Denmark on Monday recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country's interim president.

The European countries want Venezuela to hold a presidential election as soon as possible to end its political and humanitarian crises.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt posted on Twitter: "Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognizes @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let's hope this take us closer to ending humanitarian crisis."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Monday in Madrid that "...we are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela..."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter Radio that the Venezuelan crisis would end "peacefully" with an early presidential election.

A "free and fair election" did not bring Maduro to office, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen tweeted "Denmark recognizes the President of the National Assembly @jguaido as the interim President of #Venezuela until new free and democratic elections take place."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov criticized Monday's European declarations as "Attempts to legitimize usurped power" and "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs."

Maduro on the Spanish television program Salvados, broadcast Sunday said: "We don't accept ultimatums from anyone. It's like if I told the European Union: 'I give you seven days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia, and if you don't, we are going to take measures.' No, international politics can't be based on ultimatums. That was the era of empires and colonies."

He also called on U.S. President Donald Trump to refrain from supporting Guaido, saying "You are making mistakes that are going to stain your hands with blood"