By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - Venezuelan foreign minister slammed his Canadian counterpart on Thursday for reiterating support to opposition leader Juan Guaido shortly after President Nicolas Maduro's address to the UN General Assembly.
"The people of Canada deserve a sovereign foreign policy, not a government subordinated to the interests of [US President] Donald Trump, which supports imposing illegal 'sanctions', generating needs and crimes against humanity against the Venezuelan people," Jorge Arreaza said in response to comments by Canadian top diplomat Francois-Philippe Champagne, quoting his tweet.
Champagne tweeted Wednesday: "People of #Venezuela deserve free & fair elections. Canada continues to support the people of #Venezuela & Interim President @jguaido in their fight to restore #democracy."
Maduro and Guaido each gave speeches to the Assembly. The self-proclaimed interim president was recognized by more than 50 countries as they are engaged in a power struggle for almost two years. UN member states predominantly recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of the South American country.
Maduro in his long speech invited international observers to witness and verify the legitimacy of the Dec. 6 parliamentary elections.
"In Venezuela, there are all the guarantees to hold parliamentary elections and for this reason we have invited the world to join us, to be witnesses of a living democracy, nothing and no one can take away from the People of Venezuela their right to choose," he said during his virtual address.
- Venezuela prepared to overcome US blockade
Calling it "a battle for peace, homeland and region," Maduro said his country "has prepared to overcome the US blockade."
"Our heroic people have assumed, as in the past, their historical role in the face of the ignominy of the most dangerous empire in universal history," he said.
He thanked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for urging the US to lift measures against the South American country.
The US embarked on a full-scale diplomatic and economic warfare to topple Maduro, further spiraling the already beleaguered economy of the oil-rich nation.
Venezuelan leader took the opportunity to convey his message of solidarity to Cuba and Palestine.
He said Venezuela supports a free Palestine founded on the basis of earlier UN resolutions.
Maduro praised his country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that his people received the most number of tests in the region.
Guaido, in a very short video, urged UN member states to take action against Maduro and accused him of being "a criminal."
"We must remain steadfast in fighting for conditions for free presidential and parliamentary elections," he said.
Guaido also asked Guterres to mobilize the political will of member states to "effectively" restore sovereignty in Venezuela and protect civilians.