February 8, 2019 / 5:08 AM / 8 days ago

Trucks carrying aid for Venezuelans arrive in Colombian border city

Trucks arrive at a warehouse, where international humanitarian aid for Venezuela will be stored according to authorities, near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CUCUTA, Colombia (Reuters) - The first trucks carrying humanitarian aid meant to cross the border into Venezuela arrived in the Colombian border city of Cucuta on Thursday, where officials were to await instructions on how to distribute the food and medicine.

Escorted by police motorcycles, the trucks pulled into the northern city, where desperate Venezuelans were waiting to see whether President Nicolas Maduro’s government would clear the border road he has blocked and allow the humanitarian shipments to pass.

Earlier, in Uruguay, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini repeated a call for a peaceful and political solution to Venezuela’s worsening crisis, as a meeting of the International Contact Group opened.

In Washington, the U.S. admiral in charge of American forces in South America said the U.S. military was prepared to protect U.S. personnel and diplomatic facilities in Venezuela if needed.

International pressure on Maduro to step down has intensified this week as a flood of EU members followed the U.S. move to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of the economically shattered South American nation.

Reporting by Helen Murphy; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

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