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UK backs 'targeted' sanctions on Venezuelan 'kleptocrats'

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM): British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt mentioned Thursday he believed sanctions in opposition to Venezuelan "kleptocrats" could be a strategy to force President Nicolas Maduro to name new elections.

He mentioned he would elevate the problem later within the day with his European Union counterparts at a meeting in Bucharest, Romania.

"We are not considering sanctions against the whole country because there is a humanitarian situation and we wouldn't want to make the situation even worse," Hunt mentioned in a remark.

"But targeted sanctions against the kleptocrats who have enriched themselves on the back of the rest of the population who are very poor, that is something I think can be effective."

Hunt mentioned he had spoken to Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido on Wednesday.

"Mr Guaido was very clear — he wanted us to put pressure on Nicolas Maduro, because they need change," he mentioned.

He added: "What I need us to do is to put each force on Maduro and I'm urging EU overseas ministers to do exactly the same when I meet them this afternoon in order that we do have unfastened and fair elections and we give the folk of Venezuela a contemporary chance to start out again.

"We have made an overly clear request to Nicolas Maduro to announce elections inside of eight days," he mentioned.

"So if he does now not, we want to do one thing to extend the force to turn that we imply what we are saying and we don't seem to be on my own.

"This is Spain, France, Germany, many other countries, who have equally strong views as the United Kingdom."

According to a Foreign Office spokesman, Guaido instructed Hunt in their name "that the EU should consider increasing pressure on Maduro through further sanctions, and should collectively recognise him — Mr Guaido รน as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela".

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