Russia ready for talks with US about Venezuela


MARCH 3, 2019

Russia’s foreign minister told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late Saturday that Moscow is prepared to hold bilateral talks with the U.S. about the ongoing standoff in Venezuela.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with Pompeo about Venezuela, where Moscow and Washington have supported opposite sides.

“In connection with Washington’s proposal to hold bilateral consultations on the Venezuelan topic, it was stated that Russia is ready to participate in this,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that Lavrov criticized the U.S. for its opposition to “the country’s lawful leadership,” a reference to Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

The U.S. has led a host of nations in recognizing national assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, ratcheting up pressure on Maduro to step aside amid an ongoing humanitarian and economic crisis in the country.

Maduro has held on to power and has blocked humanitarian aid from entering the country, further escalating tensions.

The Trump administration has imposed numerous sanctions on Venezuelan businesses and those close to Maduro in recent months, and declared Maduro’s recent reelection and subsequent inauguration illegitimate.

Lavrov and Pompeo also spoke about issues in Syria, Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula. President Trump and Pompeo recently returned from a summit in Vietnam where they were unable to come to an agreement with Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Courtesy/Source: The Hill