Pence in Colombia announces new sanctions on Maduro

Ciudadnos venezolanos discuten con guardias en el puente Simon Bolivar entre Colombia y Venezuela

Venezuela's foreign minister on Wednesday called for direct talks between Presidents Nicolas Maduro and Donald Trump to address the country's crisis-a proposal swiftly rejected by the White House, which recognizes the opposition.

"We're calling for dialogue, dialogue with the United States - why not between Presidents Maduro and Trump?"

Earlier at the Geneva forum, an aide to Colombian President Ivan Duque called for action to end Venezuela's humanitarian crisis and bring about a political transition leading to free elections.

The Venezuelan people have yet to be allowed access to the aid being flown and driven into the country and in late February 2019, conflict broke out between protesters and Maduro's military.

A civil defence officer arranges USA humanitarian aid goods in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Tachira, Venezuela, February 8, 2019.

But the Russian measure, which expresses "concern over the threats to use force" against Venezuela, is unlikely to garner the nine votes for adoption, according to diplomats.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on February 28 on rival draft resolutions presented by the United States and Russian Federation on the crisis in Venezuela.

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Before the council meeting, Abrams told reporters that USA policy "is to use as much diplomatic and economic and political pressure as we can" along with the dozens of countries backing Guaido "to support the Venezuelan people's desire for democracy".

But US Vice President Mike Pence responded on Twitter that "the only thing to discuss with Maduro at this point is the time and date for his departure".

But each of the five Permanent Members - the US, Russia, China, France and Britain - has the power to veto a resolution and Moscow is sure to block Washington's text.

For weeks, the USA and regional allies had been amassing emergency food and medical kits on Venezuela's borders in anticipation of carrying out a "humanitarian avalanche" by land and sea to undermine Maduro's rule.

The US and a large number of Western countries have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, while China and Russian Federation support Maduro.

Guaido was to travel to Brasilia to meet President Jair Bolsonaro today.

A statement from Guaido's envoy to Brazil, Maria Teresa Belandria, said he would also meet "a number of representatives of the diplomatic delegations in Brasilia (that) have recognized him as Venezuela's legitimate interim president".

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