US to pull all remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela

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"So we talked about (Venezuela) - I certainly won't characterize the conversations; they're private conversations", Pompeo said in response to a question.

The blackouts also have hit the oil industry.

"We are in the process of investigation and correcting it all because there are many infiltrators attacking the electrical company from within", he said, telling supporters that his administration has "defeated their coup" a, reference to the efforts by the United States to topple his socialist administration. The United States has backed Mr. Guaidó and accused Cuba and Russian Federation of propping up Maduro.

US pulls remaining diplomats out of Venezuelan embassies as crisis worsens
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Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the US will pull all remaining personnel from its embassy in Venezuela's capital, adding that the presence of diplomatic staff "has become a constraint on USA policy".

Guaido said three of four electricity transformers servicing the area were knocked out. More than 50 countries led by the US have endorsed him.

"This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on USA policy", Mr Pompeo wrote on Twitter. The majority of the country's Internet network remained offline.

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"The system is vulnerable, fragile and unstable", he said. The Sepla union said two pilots and eight more crew members of a flight from Madrid were assaulted on Saturday while going from the airport to their hotel in the Venezuelan capital.

The US views Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader and has imposed sanctions on the country's oil sector besides taking other actions targeting top government officials.

"Russia's state-owned oil company, Rosneft, continues to purchase crude oil cargoes from PDVSA, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, in defiance of US sanctions".

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Evrofinance said it was carrying out its activities normally despite the announcement and pledged to "meet its obligations to the clients and partners in full".

Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, who has declared himself as interim president and is supported by Washington, said at least 17 people had been killed as a result of the blackout.

Mr Pompeo said that "India has been incredibly supportive of our efforts on Iran" where the U.S. has imposed strict sanctions after backing out of the multi-national agreement for Tehran to end its nuclear programme.

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