Monday, July 15, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 02-07-2024 11:09

Venezuela's Maduro says talks to resume with United States

Nicolás Maduro on Monday announced the resumption of dialogue with the United States.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Monday that talks would soon resume with the United States, which has reimposed crippling sanctions on the South American country's oil industry, as he looks towards this month's election.

Maduro claimed that Washington had initiated the proposal and that Caracas had agreed to it after two months of careful consideration.

"Next Wednesday, negotiations with the United States will resume," Maduro said on state television. 

Last year, the United States and Venezuela launched secret negotiations in Qatar. Ultimately, they agreed to a sweeping prisoner swap deal brokered by the Gulf state.

Washington released Maduro ally Alex Saab, who had been accused by the United States of money-laundering for Caracas.

In return, Venezuela handed over a fugitive named Leonard Francis, who was at the centre of the US Navy's worst-ever corruption scandal, freed 20 Venezuelan political prisoners and released 10 US detainees.

The United States also had suspended some sanctions after Maduro's government and the opposition agreed in Barbados last October to hold a free and fair vote in 2024 under the watchful eye of international observers.

But the thaw ended when Maduro's opponents were not allowed to run against him in elections, and the sanctions were snapped back in place in April.

"We're going to debate and find new agreements so that everything is respected, [especially] what we signed in Qatar" in September, Maduro said.

The Venezuelan leader said he hoped for "dialogue, understanding, a future for our relationship."

The US State Department declined comment when asked by AFP about Maduro's comments.




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