President Hugo Chavez has said that Venezuela will not abandon its bid for a UN Security Council seat despite trailing US-backed Guatemala in repeated rounds of voting.
"Venezuela does not surrender," Chavez said in a speech on Tuesday night. "I say it here to the whole world, Venezuela will continue waging this battle."
Chavez called it a struggle against the US 'empire' and accused Washington of leading a fierce campaign of "blackmail, pressure, threats of all sorts," during 22 rounds of voting over two days in the UN General Assembly.
The deadlock appeared to set up the sort of high-profile confrontation that Chavez has thrived on in repeated diplomatic bouts with Washington.
Guatemala, unable to obtain the required two-thirds majority to win, was left with 102 votes to Venezuela's 77 in the final ballot of the day. Voting is to resume on Thursday after a day off to allow for consultations.
In Guatemala, President Oscar Berger said that his country also would stay in the race.
"We have won in all the rounds of voting, except for one tie," Berger told reporters. "Having had so much support from so many countries reflects that we merit the seat, and I am confident that we will get the 22 votes that we still lack."
Chavez said he has nothing against Guatemala but that it was sad how the US takes the name of a country to use it for its imperialist interests.