Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said Venezuela is ready to initiate dialogue with the US based on mutual respect and equality, and that he is prepared to speak directly with US President Barack Obama on this basis, Spanish news agency Efe reported.
“Venezuela is ready for a dialogue based on respect and in terms of equality between the states with the government of President Barack Obama wherever, whenever and however he wants, I say this as the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, that we are ready,” said Maduro .
Maduro spoke during an event in Caracas to mark the 21st anniversary of former president Hugo Chavez’s release from two years of imprisonment following a failed coup against then president Carlos Andres Perez in 1992.
Maduro also said on Wednesday that during the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama this April, he would speak to Obama about an “economic conspiracy centre” based in Miami that undermined Venezuelan interests.
He will also ask Obama to repeal sanctions imposed in early March, which identified the “extraordinary risk” that the Venezuelan situation poses to US security as a “national threat”.
According to Maduro, his request will be accompanied by a petition to Obama of no fewer than 10 million Venezuelan signatures that his government is organising.
He added that the campaign has already collected four million signatures.
Maduro also expressed gratitude to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which denounced the sanctions and called on the governments of the US and Venezuela to initiate a dialogue.
Relations between Venezuela and the US have been fraught with tension since 2010, when both countries withdrew their ambassadors.