February 26, 2019 / 8:23 PM / 21 days ago

U.S. envoy hoping for Security Council vote urging Venezuela to take aid

American diplomat Elliott Abrams speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting about the situation in Venezuela, in New York, U.S., February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said on Tuesday he hopes the U.N. Security Council will vote this week on a resolution calling for Venezuela to allow the entry of humanitarian assistance into the country.

Abrams, speaking ahead of a Security Council meeting on Venezuela sought by the United States, also told reporters that Washington would impose more sanctions on Caracas this week and next to bring additional pressure on the government of President Nicolas Maduro, whose legitimacy Washington has challenged.

“We’ll have a (Security Council) resolution this week which will certainly call for the admission of humanitarian aid into Venezuela and will comment on the events of the last few days,” Abrams told reporters.

His comments came days after troops loyal to Maduro violently drove back U.S.-backed foreign aid convoys from the border on Saturday, killing two protesters and prompting opposition leader Juan Guaido to propose that Washington consider “all options” to oust him.

Abrams denied Russian accusations that the United States is preparing to intervene militarily in Venezuela, but reiterated that U.S. President Donald Trump has said all options are on the table in dealing with Venezuela.

The United States has been pushing the 15-member Security Council to formally call for free, fair and credible presidential elections in Venezuela with international observers, a move that prompted Russia to propose a rival draft resolution.

Moscow and Washington have been at loggerheads over a U.S.-led campaign for international recognition of Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader and head of the country’s elected National Assembly, over Maduro. Guaido last month declared himself the interim head of state.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Tim Ahmann and James Dalgleish

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