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U.S. not ready to recognize Venezuela's new president


09:12, April 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Wednesday it has not decided whether to recognize Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela's new president, reiterating a call for a recount of the presidential votes.

Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that he was doubtful about the U.S. sending a delegation to attend Maduro's swearing-in ceremony slated for Friday.

"If it's under contested circumstances, I'd be very doubtful of that," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in his testimony about his agency's budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

"We think there ought to be a recount. I don't know whether it' s going to happen in the next days," Kerry said.

As acting president, Maduro won Sunday's presidential election by garnering 50.66 percent of the votes, beating opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, his close foe, by a margin of less than 2 percentage points. Capriles, citing irregularities in the polls, rejected the results and demanded a recount of all votes, a call echoed by the U.S. and the Organization of American States.

The National Electoral Council on Monday proclaimed Maduro as the new president, prompting violent protests in the oil-rich nation, which have resulted in seven deaths and injuries of 61 others.

"Obviously, if there are huge irregularities, we are going to have serious questions about the viability of that government," Kerry said. "I'm not sure that's over yet."

White House spokesman Jay Carney issued a statement on Wednesday, repeating his early call for a recount of the votes. " Such a process would contribute to political dialogue and help advance the country's democracy," he said.

Maduro will complete the remaining six-year term left by late President Hugo Chavez starting from January. The popular Chavez had named Maduro his successor.

During Chavez's 14-year rule, U.S.-Venezuela relations were strained, and the two countries have not had each other's ambassador since July 2010.

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