SA backs beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro

26 January 2019 - 15:20 By Qaanitah Hunter
South African international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.
South African international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson

International relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu has made it clear that South Africa will not support efforts by the US for the United Nations Security Council to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a visit to India, Sisulu said South Africa only recognises Nicholas Maduro as president of the troubled South American country.

“South Africa’s position is that we recognise the duly-elected, democratically-elected president of Venezuela until such time as he steps down, or until such time as there is an election,” Sisulu told reporters.

On Wednesday, Guaido declared himself acting president during an opposition rally in Caracas which Maduro described as an attempted coup.

The US has pushed for Guaido to be recognised, taking the matter urgently to be discussed in the security council later on Saturday in New York.

South Africa’s position is expected to assist Russia who are tipped to fight hard against the US-sponsored motion.

Russia, supported by Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua and Turkey have been vehement in their bid not to recognise the opposition government in Venezuela.

South Africa only assumed its seat on the security council earlier this month and the emergency meeting will be the first indicator of which side South Africa leans towards.

Sisulu said Maduro was the democratically-elected president and South Africa recognises him.

“Anything else we find irregular, and that is a position we are going to put across at the UN security council,” she said.

Sisulu also said that Pretoria was still watching developments in that country closely.