US President Donald Trump has recognized Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in a provocative move against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
"Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela," Trump said in statement.
He called the Maduro government "illegitimate" and "directly responsible for any threats" posed to the Venezuelan people.
He added he would use "the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy" and encouraged other governments in the Western Hemisphere to also recognize Guaido.
Breaking: Trump announces he will recognize Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela. "We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people." pic.twitter.com/UhPGHyQsbb
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) January 23, 2019
US-backed Guaido, who is currently the President of the National Assembly, swore an oath and declared himself interim president on Monday as thousands took to the streets calling for Maduro to leave office.'
Read more: Trump recognizes US-backed head of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido as country’s interim president