Venezuela dispute prompts urgent meeting of regional leader

April 18, 2013 00:42

LIMA - Several South American presidents will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday in Peru to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela following the disputed election of President Nicolas Maduro, officials said on Wednesday.

Senior government officials did not say if the meeting was being held as a show of support for Maduro, or whether regional leaders wanted to issue a collective call for calm in Venezuela, where protests have flared since Maduro's narrow win by about 2 percentage points.Maduro, the chosen successor to deceased former President Hugo Chavez, will be sworn in on Friday.

The governments of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina, among others, have recognized Maduro's victory, but Washington has not.

The meeting will be held under the umbrella of regional group Unasur in Lima on Thursday evening, senior government officials said. Peru holds the rotating presidency of the group. Unasur election monitors have said Maduro's win was legitimate.

The presidents of Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil will attend the meeting and other leaders may also participate, officials said.

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