Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro described the important talks he had with the U.S. government delegation as “respectful” and “cordial,” with Washington considering approaching Caracas to ensure an alternative oil supply to Russia.
Maduro said the parties met for nearly two hours over the weekend at the Presidential Palace in Caracas – the first high-level meeting between the two countries since 2019, when they severed diplomatic ties.
“We agreed to work on a forward-looking agenda,” Maduro said in a televised speech late Monday night. “We will continue with the talks, coordination and a positive agenda for the United States Government and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
The meeting appears to be signaling a significant policy change for the U.S., which was Venezuela’s largest buyer of oil until the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Caracas in 2019, closed its embassy there and accused his generation of stealing presidential elections the previous year.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and US and EU sanctions on Moscow have led Western countries to seek alternative energy sources around the world. The search gained new urgency as Washington discussed the extension Sanctions on MoscowOil exports of
Washington may also see the Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to coax its fire out of Moscow’s embrace in exchange for easing Venezuela’s oil sanctions.
Earlier on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Pesky confirmed the circus meeting and said the parties discussed “a variety of issues, including definitely energy security.” She described the conversation process as “ongoing”.
“What we are trying to do is contact energy producers and oil supply reserves to make sure we handle supply in the market,” she said. “We need to communicate with all kinds of countries around the world.”
Maduro said he was joined at the meeting by his wife Celia Flores, a lawyer and congresswoman, and Jorge Rodriguez, head of the Venezuelan Congress and former Maduro vice president.
The U.S. delegation included Juan Gonzalez, senior director of the Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, and Jimmy Story, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, who has been sitting in Bogota since 2019.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guido as the legitimate president of Venezuela in 2018 instead of his generation and persuaded about 60 other countries to follow in its footsteps.
Since Guido’s support has waned and many of the countries that once recognized him, especially in the EU, are no longer doing so.
The sanctions of the Trump era shattered the Venezuelan economy, but Maduro tightened his grip on power and survived with the support of Cuba, Russia and China.
Maduro hails ‘cordial’ talks with US as west seeks new oil supplies Source link Maduro hails ‘cordial’ talks with US as west seeks new oil supplies