European and Latin American countries recognized Thursday Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as head of the opposition-led National Assembly.
Members of the International Contact Group on Venezuela led by the EU expressed "great concern" in a joint statement, about actions taken against the "democratic and constitutional operation of the National Assembly on the occasion of the election of the new Board of Directors."
The statement was issued days after dissident opposition legislator Luis Parra was sworn in Sunday as new president of the Assembly, ending his rival Guaido's term.
The session was held at the Federal Legislative Palace in Caracas and was attended by members of the National Constituent Assembly led by the Maduro government as part of the agreements reached with the opposition under the National Dialogue Table For Peace in September last year.
But Guaido and his lawmakers declared the session invalid after security officials blocked them from attending.
"The security forces prevented many deputies from accessing the National Assembly and exercising their constitutional rights and responsibilities," the statement said. "In this context, the election of Luis Parra cannot be considered legitimate or democratic."
Guaido, who declared himself interim president in early 2019 and is recognized as the country’s legitimate leader by the U.S., most Latin American countries and the European Union, has been engaged in a year-long power battle with elected president Nicolas Maduro.
Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. are the countries involved in the joint statement.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.