Damascus (AFP) - Venezuela's top diplomat said Thursday his government was seeking to avoid a Syria-style civil war during a visit to long-time ally Damascus.
Caracas has been hit hard by a political feud between President Nicolas Maduro, viewed by the United States as illegitimate, and opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognised by Washington and its allies as interim president.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused the US of fuelling the conflict, but said his government would rely on diplomacy to avoid a full-blown war.
"When President Assad described the stages before and the stages during the early days of the war on Syria, similarities with what we are experiencing in Venezuela were immediately noticeable," he said during a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart.
We have "the same enemy with the same interests", he said, referring to the US.
"With the help of our friends, we have to avoid war, to stop the war," he added.
Russia and China back Maduro, who has clung to power with the support of Venezuela's military.
Moscow has accused Washington of trying to orchestrate a "coup" in the oil-rich country.
Arreaza said that his government and its allies would "continue to rely on diplomacy and dialogue" to prevent the US from interfering in the country.
"At the Security Council, there are states like China, Russia and South Africa (who) are there to stop a war, to stop imperial folly," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Arreaza met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"We told President Assad that Syria's experience helps us in Venezuela, it gives us guidance and ideas on how to confront this situation and win this war," he said.
For his part, Assad criticised Washington for "meddling in (Venezuela's) internal affairs and imposing an economic siege and sanctions" on the country, according to a statement released by the presidency.
"What is happening in Venezuela is similar to what happened in Syria," he said.
The war in Syria has killed at least 370,000 people since it started in 2011.