- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) —Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States won’t pull its diplomats out of Venezuela as ordered by President Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo made the announcement Wednesday night, hours after the U.S. recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president. That decision prompted Maduro to sever relations with the U.S. and order American diplomats to leave within 72 hours.

But Pompeo said the U.S. would instead abide by Guaido’s directive that countries retain their diplomatic missions in the South American country. Pompeo says the U.S. doesn’t recognize the authority of Maduro and that he doesn’t have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Other nations, including Canada, Brazil and Argentina, also have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

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