Croatia supports Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president who can, in that capacity, organise presidential elections which would help solve the crisis in the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Juan Guaido is the leader of the country’s National Assembly, controlled by the opposition. He declared himself acting president on January 23, challenging Venezuelan President’s Nicolas Maduro claim to the presidency.
Earlier today, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Austria, and Denmark recognized Guaido as the country's interim president, after EU countries had warned last week that they would recognise Guaido as legitimate unless Maduro called new elections by Sunday.
Croatian Foreign Ministry said it was concerned about the latest developments in Venezuela and the further deepening of the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in the country, strongly condemning the violations of human rights and the rule of law.
“Croatia supports the democratically elected legitimate bodies of Venezuela, the National Assembly and its leader, in carrying out free, fair and democratic presidential elections and ensuring the legitimacy of institutions in his capacity as interim president,” the ministry said.
The EU remains divided over the issue, with countries such as Greece and Italy choosing to wait before making decisions. An unnamed EU diplomat told AFP on Monday that Italy had rejected the proposed EU joint statement on the issue, saying it would mean interfering in Venezuela's internal policy, and thus effectively sinking the bloc's efforts to take a stronger stance.
Croatia supports the establishment of an International Contact Group on Venezuela, which should help create conditions for a credible political process, the Croatian ministry added.
“We underline the importance of finding a peaceful and democratic solution as part of a viable political process, which should include holding free, transparent and credible presidential elections in line with international democratic standards and Venezuela's constitution, the ministry said.