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Maduro Warns Against 'Robbing Venezuela of Gold' Amid Bank of England Dispute

© REUTERS / Andres Martinez CasaresVenezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, 8 February , 2019
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, 8 February , 2019 - Sputnik International
In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro focused on an array of pressing issues pertaining to the ongoing political crisis in the Latin American country, including its gold reserves, the opposition and the position of the US.

Speaking to the BBC, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro specifically expressed hope that his country "is not robbed of the gold that legally belongs to the central bank of Venezuela" and that international law "will be respected and prevail".

Maduro suggested that "more or less 80 tonnes" of Venezuela's gold could currently be frozen in the Bank of England.

READ MORE: Montevideo Calls Venezuela's Guaido 'More Non-Legitimate' Than Maduro's Gov't

When asked what he would say to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, he said that he has not had "much of a relationship" with her, but if he had the chance, he would tell her that "she should open her ears wide and see the aggression and not be partners in crime in what could be an invasion, a war in Latin America".

"The extremist group that is in the White House is willing to do anything, and in the name of Venezuela, I tell her, look at the reality," Maduro added, warning of "a severe risk to peace in Latin America and the Caribbean".

He urged the UK and other European countries to "propose a respectful dialogue between Venezuelans".

READ MORE: Maduro: Venezuela's Independence Being Destroyed Under Cloak of Humanitarian Aid

"I am sending a message beyond Mrs. May to the people of the United Kingdom, the people of England, to all the people of the United Kingdom, to have solidarity with us and support peace, and to enforce John Lennon's song, Give Peace a Chance. Give Peace a Chance and give truth a chance in Venezuela — that would be my call," Maduro pointed out.

In late January, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido reportedly asked Prime Minister May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney not to return gold bullion to President Nicolas Maduro's government.

READ MORE: EU Acting Like US 'Lackey' on Venezuela, Maduro 'Enormously Popular' — Professor

This followed Bloomberg's report that the Bank of England had refused to withdraw Venezuela's gold reserves, worth $1.2 billion, following President Nicolas Maduro's request.

US Waging a 'Political War' Against Venezuela

Separately in the interview, he claimed that only 10 rather than 50 countries had recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president, in what he described as a "coup d'état scenario coming from the White House".

He lambasted Washington's attempts to "impose on Venezuela a government that nobody has elected, a government that declared itself in a public square, absolutely unconstitutional and irregular".

"The extremists of the White House have taken it upon themselves to carry out a coup in Venezuela. And we have rejected it and the entire world has rejected it. Now a Western campaign continues in a rushed way, I would say in an evil way. [US President] Donald Trump's politics continue," Maduro underscored.

READ MORE: Maduro: 'No Aggressor Will Enter Venezuela,' Trump's Military Option 'Madness'

He pointed the finger at what he described as the United States empire, which Maduro claimed is waging a "political war" against Venezuela, representing "the interests of the extreme right that today is governing".

According to him, Trump is engaged in "completely extremist illegal politics that violates the United Nations charter", and have already failed.

When the Venezuelan parliament's majority leader Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela on 23 January, Maduro called him a US "puppet" and accused Washington, which has stated that it has all options on the table with regard to a response to the Venezuelan crisis, of organising a coup in the Latin American country.

Europe Should Follow a 'Path of Respect'

When asked to comment on the fact that a number of EU member states are questioning his presidency, Maduro voiced regret that some European governments which he said were pressured by Donald Trump are behind him "in a completely illegal policy that has no reason to be".

He said that he continues to hope "for more" from the European countries, including those who "have gone in the wrong direction" and those who are pursuing a wait-and-see policy.

READ MORE:  Maduro Asks Pope Francis to Facilitate Dialogue Amid Venezuela Crisis

"I hope that they listen to us. They only listen, as I told them, to one version. The statements and the communications from the European Union are a complete reproduction of what the Venezuelan extreme right has said. It can't be," Maduro stressed, urging Europe to "follow the path of respect".

Supporters of Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed Interim President of Venezuela, take part in a rally, in Caracas, Venezuela - Sputnik International
Lavrov: US Draft Resolution on Venezuela For UNSC Aimed at Possible Intervention
In early February, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that the EU, particularly Spain, categorically rejects a military intervention in Venezuela as an option to solve the crisis in the Latin American country.

Spain, as well as Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom had previously recognised Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, as Venezuela's interim president.

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