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President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has ordered to transfer the country’s state oil company PDVSA’s office in Lisbon to Moscow,, his vice-president said on Friday.

The president has “issued a decree” to close the office in the Portuguese capital, Delcy Rodriguez told journalists at a news conference on Friday with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Interfax reported.

Venezuela will take the necessary steps to guarantee the right of defence, trial and return of its legal assets “in those countries where necessary”, she said.

Russia, along with China, Cuba and a handful of other countries, recognises Mr Maduro as Venezuela’s president, while most western democratic nations regard Juan Guaidó, head of the Venezuelan opposition, as its rightful interim leader. The EU is divided over how to proceed.

Mike Pence, the US vice-president, said this week that Latin American nations should freeze PDVSA assets — virtually the only source of foreign income for the Maduro regime — and transfer ownership of those to Mr Guaidó, the person Washington recognises as Venezuela’s interim president.

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