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US at UN warns of escalating crackdown in Venezuela

AFP  |  United Nations (US) 

The told the on Tuesday that Venezuela's was stepping up a crackdown on the opposition-controlled and called on to respond with concrete actions.

The council met behind closed doors at the request of European to hear a briefing on the political and humanitarian crises in and details of an EU-backed diplomatic push to end the stalemate.

US Acting raised alarm over the arrest on May 8 of Edgar Zambrano, a senior opposition of the

"We are concerned that Zambrano's arrest is a major escalation of the ongoing crackdown by the Maduro regime against the National Assembly," said a statement from the to the

"The calls on all member states to be prepared to take concrete actions in response to the Maduro regime's repression throughout Venezuela," it added.

The US is among more than 50 backing Juan Guaido, who declared himself on January 23 but has since failed to force Maduro to step down.

Guaido blames Maduro for Venezuela's economic problems, which have forced millions of Venezuelans to flee the country in search of livelihoods abroad.

The council heard a report from French Deputy UN on a plan by the EU-backed to end the standoff in

The contact group, made up of about a dozen European and Latin American countries, plans to send envoys to soon to discuss holding elections.

The group "has the capacity to push the parties to engage in a political process that would lead to free, credible and transparent elections", Gueguen told AFP.

The UN is stepping up plans to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, where 7 million people -- 25 per cent of the population -- are in need of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

The UN resident met Monday with Maduro and other government officials in to discuss a proposed UN humanitarian response plan, UN officials said.

The UN plans to appoint a humanitarian soon to oversee a rollout of aid to

Maduro has repeatedly maintained that there is no humanitarian crisis in his country and that US sanctions are to blame for the hardships of Venezuelans.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 15 2019. 04:00 IST