Venezuela: President Maduro ready for talks with opposition, says Russian agency

Venezuela: President Maduro ready for talks with opposition, says Russian agency

Venezuela: President Maduro ready for talks with opposition, says Russian agency

Guaido is recognized as president by the United States and most Western Hemisphere nations, presenting the biggest challenge to President Nicolas Maduro's six-year rule.

Venezuela is a rare Moscow ally in Latin America.

The Trump administration continued to apply pressure on Maduro's government, imposing sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil and natural gas company that have effectively halted Venezuelan crude exports to the U.S.

The leaders also agreed to regular communication in support of Venezuela's path back to stability and to rebuild strained relations between both countries.

"The United Nations are ready to increase their activities in Venezuela in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development", Guterres told Guaido in a letter dated January 29 and seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Maduro claimed that President Trump had ordered the government of Colombia to assassinate him.

Torrealba says it's the United States and its sanctions - not Maduro - that has plunged Venezuela into a crippling economic crisis.

At the White House earlier this week, National Security Advisor John Bolton explained the situation. U.S. Major General Mark Stammer, the commander of U.S. Army South, was in Colombia on Wednesday, U.S. embassy officials said.

He went on to say, "Venezuela will not allow anyone to impose on us any decision or order".

Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country, and Maduro has shown little tolerance for opposition-led protests.

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Venezuela's economy is already ravaged by hyperinflation and widespread food and medical shortages that have driven millions of people to leave the country.

Washington-Caracas conflicts intensified after Donald Trump assumed office as United States president in January 2017 and imposed stricter sanctions on Venezuela.

Bolton, the national security adviser, said he had a "very productive meeting" on Wednesday with the executive team of Citgo, the USA -based refining business of Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA, two days after Washington slapped sanctions on PDVSA.

The 35-year-old opposition lawmaker, who is president of the National Assembly, wants new elections, arguing that Maduro fraudulently won a second term last year.

Maduro calls his regime a "solid democracy", despite overwhelming evidence that he has orchestrated fraudulent elections for most of his tenure, most prominently in May 2018, when he was "elected" president in an election barring opposition candidates from running.

The turmoil has morphed into a larger geopolitical standoff as Maduro accuses the US of orchestrating a coup by backing Guaido and enacting punishing oil sanctions while powerful Venezuela allies China and Russian Federation continue to stand by the president.

"I'm willing to sit down for talks with the opposition so that we could talk for the sake of Venezuela's peace and its future", he said.

"I don't underestimate the threat of persecution at the moment, but here we are", he said. "If the imperialists want a new election, let them wait until 2025".

Sources told Reuters that private military contractors who do secret missions for Moscow were in Venezuela last week.

Wednesday's protest is a two-hour strike, aimed to "demand that the armed forces side with the people", after bloody clashes following protests last week left more than 40 people dead and 850 incarcerated.

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