Venezuela's government dismisses Europe's 'childlike' demands as leadership battle with Juan Guaido continues

Venezuela's government has dismissed Europe's 'childlike' demands to quickly call for new presidential elections.

It comes as the leaders of France, Spain, Germany and the UK told Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro they would join the United States in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezeula's interim president unless elections are held within eight days.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza branded the ultimatum as "almost childlike" and added that the country "will not allow anyone to impose on us any decision or order".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said self-declared interim leader Guaido is the "right person to take Venezuela forward" as he denounced Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Hunt echoed the statement, tweeting: "If there are not fresh & fair elections announced within 8 days UK will recognise (Guaido) as interim President to take forward the political process towards democracy."

And in a dig at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Hunt tweeted: "Wonder how proud @jeremycorbyn is of ringing Nicolas Maduro on live TV to congratulate him on his victory?

"If Maduro's policies result in 82% of population in poverty there is just the tiniest clue what Corbyn's policies might do to Britain..."

The government of President Donald Trump also announced it was recognising the 35-year-old Guaido after his oath.

The political showdown moved to the United Nations on Saturday where the US called a Security Council meeting to pit the backers of President Maduro against the Trump administration and Guadio's other supporters.

Nicolas Maduro has accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup. Credit: AP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council that "the humanitarian situation demands action now."

He said nine out of 10 Venezuelan citizens live in poverty and 3 million have been forced to flee their homeland.

The session came a day after Guaido vowed to remain on the streets until his country has a transitional government, while Maduro dug in and accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup.

The standoff has plunged troubled Venezuela into a new chapter of political turmoil that rights groups say has already left more than two dozen dead as thousands take to the street demanding Maduro step down.

  • Who is backing the current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro?

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro march in Caracas, Venezuela on 26 January. Credit: PA

Maduro currently has Russia's support and in heated exchange Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of attempting "to engineer a coup d'etat" in Venezuela.

During the exchange he demanded to know whether the Trump administration "is ready to use military force" against Maduro's government.

Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council that Venezuela does not pose a threat to international peace and security and should not be on its agenda.

He said: "If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive actions of the United States and their allies in the ouster of the legitimate elected present of Venezuela."