The United States and its allies have invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) in order to take collective measures "to confront the threat" which it claims is coming from the government of Venezuela, the US Department of State said.
"The United States and our partners have invoked the TIAR/Rio Treaty, which facilitates further collective action to confront the threat posed by the former regime of Nicolas Maduro [the US does not recognize Maduro as a legitimate head of state - TASS] to the Venezuelan people and to the region," US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Tuesday night.
"We look forward to coming together with regional partners to discuss the multilateral economic and political options we can employ to the threat to the security of the region that Maduro represents," she said.
According to the spokesperson, Washington decided to invoke the Rio Pact after Norway-mediated talks between the government of Nicolas Maduro and opposition forces led by Juan Guaido had been suspended.
The diplomat reiterated Washington’s support to Guaido, adding that US sanctions against Venezuela will remain in place "until Maduro is gone."
The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Pact or the Rio Treaty, was signed in 1947 by the majority of American countries. Its main principle is that an attack against one member is considered an attack against them all. Later, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua left the treaty on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
In July, Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament approved a bill on returning to the treaty. However, the country’s Supreme Court later deemed the bill invalid.
On January 23 Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the country's acting president. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with the United States.
Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States. Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis. Maduro was supported by Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salavador, Syria and Turkey.