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Macron meets Venezuelan opposition leaders

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Lilian Tintori, the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, says she has been prevented from coming to France Reuters/Andres Martinez Casares

French President Emmanuel Macron was to meet Venezuelan opposition leaders in Paris on Monday after dubbing President Nicolas Maduro's government a dictatorship last week.


The president of Venezuela's National Assembly, Julio Borges, and its vice-president, Freddy Guevara, were among the group that was to meet Macron at the Elysée presidential palace at 4.00pm on Monday, an official statement said.

The other members of the group were not named.

Last week Macron described Venezuela's government as a "dictatorship", following the last few months' repression of anti-Maduro protests.

The Caracas government, which says that foreign governments are plotting with the opposition to overthrow it, called his statement an "attack on Venezuelan institutions" arising from an "imperialist obsession".

The National Assembly has been dissolved after the election of a constituent assembly in a poll boycotted by the opposition in July.

The delegation was also set to meet French National Assembly president François de Rugy before going on to Spain, Germany and Britain, a statement said.

Rights activist not in delegation

On Saturday Macron announced that Lilian Tintori, a human rights activist who is the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader who is currently under house arrest, would be visiting Europe.

Tintori has since said that she has been prevented from leaving the country, adding that she had expected to meet several European leaders, including the French president.

“The dictatorship does not want my voice to be heard abroad. But the tour is going ahead. @FreddyGuevaraC will represent @leopoldolopez and me,” she wrote on her Twitter page on Sunday.

Macron attacks French left

Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe have lashed out at France's hard-left France Unbowed party for its reluctance to criticise Maduro.

France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon last week hit back with a proposal to debate the question with the president, accusing him of trying to exploit it to distract attention from his falling support in opinion polls.