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Australia Joins U.S. in Recognizing Venezuela's New Leadership

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Protests against the Nicolas Maduro regime in Caracas Venezuela on Wednesday Jan 23 2019

President Nicolas Maduro's election to a six-year term last year has been widely criticized as a fraud created to keep him and his military allies in power despite the country's years-long spiral into misery and hunger.

"Israel joins the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela", Netanyahu said.

Although he professed himself "open to dialogue", he acknowledged it was unlikely.

In an interview with Turkish private broadcaster CNN Turk, Maduro stressed that his country has no political and diplomatic relations with the US and described Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as "the words of a falling country".

Venezuela's competing leaders - Guaido is a 35-year-old engineer-turned-lawmaker while Maduro succeeded the late President Hugo Chavez in 2013 - are vying for support in the streets, the military and the mainstay oil industry.

Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognise Mr Guaido if Mr Maduro failed to call new elections within eight days, an ultimatum Russian Federation said was "absurd" and the Venezuelan foreign minister called "childlike".

"I think both those factors seem to have sparked fears about slowing demand growth, which have been one of the main bearish drivers in the market for a while", McGillian said.

Two weeks after he was inaugurated for a second term this month, Venezuela's opposition controlled National Assembly declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate.

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International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.74 a barrel at 0804 GMT, down 90 cents, or 1.46 percent.

The first major military officer to publicly switch his support to Guaido was Venezuela's military attache in Washington, Army Colonel Jose Luis Silva.

Several EU countries have further said that Mr Maduro has eight days to call elections and end the standoff, or else they will back Mr Guaido.

In response to a question if there was any progress in contacts with Venezuela and if the possibility of providing military and financial aid to President Nicolas Maduro was under consideration, the Kremlin spokesman noted that no such talks were underway. The U.S. imported less than 500,000 barrels a day of Venezuelan crude and petroleum products in 2017, down from more than 1.2 million barrels a day in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. With Venezuelan allies China and Russian Federation holding veto power, there was little chance the United Nations body would agree to take action.

But as the deadline expired, Maduro said he had begun negotiations to set up within 30 days an Interests Section in Caracas to maintain a minimum level of diplomatic contact, similar to the arrangement the USA had with Cuba until their 2015 rapprochement.

"We're seeing oil prices really start to break down here", said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

"Interim President Guaido has invited the United States mission to remain in Venezuela".

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