In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer, Dalati Nohra, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza shakes hands with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, in Beirut, Lebanon, Apr. 3, 2014.
In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer, Dalati Nohra, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza shakes hands with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, in Beirut, Lebanon, Apr. 3, 2014.

BEIRUT - Venezuela's foreign minister, meeting with anti-U.S. allies in the Middle East, said Wednesday that opposition leader Juan Guaido is in breach of the constitution and that the judiciary has to "take care" of it.

Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, has stripped Guaido of his immunity, putting him at risk of arrest for supposedly violating the constitution when he declared himself interim president in January.
 
"He is in breach of most part of the constitution, so the judiciary has to take care of those who violated the Venezuelan law," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters in Beirut.

Juan Guaido, President of National Assembly and self-proclaimed interim president waves to the gallery during a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2019.
Venezuela Lawmakers Loyal to Maduro Strip Opposition Leader of Immunity
Maduro loyalists stripped Venezuela's Juan Guaido of immunity Tuesday, paving the way for the opposition leader's prosecution and potential arrest for supposedly violating the constitution when he declared himself interim president.   But whether the government of President Nicolas Maduro will take action against the 35-year-old lawmaker remains unclear.

The United States and roughly 50 other nations recognize Guaido as Venezuela's interim leader, asserting that Maduro's re-election last year was illegitimate.
 
Arreaza met with Lebanon's president and foreign minister in Beirut. He is expected to meet with an official from the Hezbollah militant group before traveling onward to Syria.
 
Maduro's government has warm relations with Syria and its allies in Lebanon, all of which are opposed to U.S. policies.
 
Russia, a major backer of Syria, and China, which has invested heavily in Venezuela's oil industry, back Maduro.
 
Last weekend, a Russian aircraft carrying military officials and equipment arrived in Caracas and is believed to have flown via Syria, according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking site. Russian officials have scoffed at U.S. demands to withdraw military personnel, saying their presence in Venezuela is fully legitimate.

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia Dec. 5, 2018.
Russia Scoffs at US Calls for Withdrawal from Venezuela
The Kremlin on Thursday rejected U.S. calls for Moscow to withdraw its military specialists from Venezuela, saying they are there to honor obligations under previous arms contracts.Asked to comment on Washington's demand for Moscow to pull out its personnel and halt other assistance to embattled President Nicolas Maduro, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov snapped that “our bilateral relations isn't something that should concern third countries.”

In December, Russia sent two Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela for several days in a demonstration of support for Maduro, who has rejected demands from the United States and dozens of other countries that he resign.
 
"We have had cooperation, military and technical cooperation with Russia for almost 17 years, and it's just developing as it should," Arreaza said. "The only interference we have had for 20 years, every day of every week of every month of every year, is from the United States."

 

 

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