EU extends Venezuela sanctions for a year

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Luigi Di Maio, Carmelo Abela, Nicos Christodoulides

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, right, talks to Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, left, and Malta’s Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela during an European Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. European Union foreign ministers are discussing ways to keep the Iran nuclear deal intact after the Islamic Republic began enrichment work at its Fordo power plant. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is extending sanctions against Venezuela for a year due to the political and economic crisis that it blames on the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

EU foreign ministers decided at a meeting on Monday to prolong an arms embargo and ban on equipment sales that could be used against demonstrators until Nov. 14, 2020.

They also extended an asset freeze and travel bans against 25 Venezuelan officials.

The EU says it’s targeting the Maduro regime over “persistent actions undermining democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights.”

The ministers say the sanctions “are flexible and reversible” and do not target ordinary Venezuelans.

The U.S., EU and many other governments recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president. They say Maduro wasn’t legitimately re-elected last year.

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