United Nations to vote on rival USA and Russian resolutions on Venezuela

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Russian Federation and China have vetoed a US resolution urging new elections in Venezuela, unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid and "the peaceful restoration of democracy".

Ahead of the Security Council votes on Thursday, French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, in support of the USA -drafted resolution, said it "does not represent a legal basis for a use of force, nor an attempt to undermine the sovereignty of Venezuela".

The U.N. Security Council has scheduled votes on rival resolutions on Venezuela.

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"By voting against this resolution some members of this council continue to shield Maduro and his cronies and prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people".

Battered by economic collapse, Venezuela descended into a major political crisis when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in January and asserted that President Nicolas Maduro was no longer legitimate.

A Russian resolution, calling for a "peaceful settlement" of the political crisis through dialogue and for humanitarian assistance to be coordinated with the Venezuelan government, was likewise rejected, with 7 votes against, 4 in favor and 4 abstentions. If it does, it will likely face a USA veto.

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Minutes later, the Security Council voted on the Russian draft which aimed to express support for a political solution and back the Venezuelan government as the primary coordinator of global assistance efforts in the country. The resolution had 9 votes in favor, 3 abstentions and 3 votes against, with China and Russian Federation exercising their veto powers. South Africa voted against the resolution, too, three countries abstained, while nine other states supported it. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has called Bolsonaro "a modern-day Hitler" and has accused him of plotting a military intervention in Venezuela.

Russian Federation and China are key allies of Venezuela.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is still working on plans to get humanitarian aid delivered to Venezuela. Arreaza arrived from NY where the UN Security Council held a session on Venezuela.

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The crisis turned violent over the weekend when four people died in clashes at Venezuela's borders during an attempt led by Guaido to bring in humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil.