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Venezuela says taking steps to restore US diplomatic ties - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro (Left) speaks to his Foreign minister Elias Jaua (Right) and Cuban Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez (Centre) prior to laying a wreath in front Cuban national hero Jose Marti's sculpture at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, Cuba, 27 April 2013. Source: EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro (Left) speaks to his Foreign minister Elias Jaua (Right) and Cuban Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez (Centre) prior to laying a wreath in front Cuban national hero Jose Marti’s sculpture at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, Cuba, 27 April 2013. Source: EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

Caracas, Reuters—Venezuela’s recent designation of an acting head of its diplomatic mission in the United States shows the OPEC nation’s desire to restore full diplomatic relations, the foreign minister said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Disputes between Caracas and Washington were common during the 14-year-rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, leaving both nations without ambassadors in each other’s capitals.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua suggested in a televised interview that the move to name government ally Calixto Ortega as charge d’affaires in Washington could be a prelude to restoring ambassadors.

“This is a message for US politicians so they understand Venezuela’s desire to normalize relations … via the designation of the highest diplomatic authorities,” he said. “Why? Because the United States remains our top trade partner.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has in recent months said he wants better ties with Washington as long as the relationship is respectful. But he has also accused the United States of seeking to destabilize the country.

Last month, he slammed the United States for “vulgar” meddling after the State Department said it had not decided if it would recognize his presidency and supported opposition calls for a vote recount after the April 14 election.

He won that vote, triggered by Chavez’s death, by 1.5 percentage points. The opposition refused to accept the results and is challenging the election in the country’s top court.

In 2008, Chavez expelled US Ambassador Patrick Duddy from Caracas in a dispute over what the late president called Washington’s involvement in violent protests in Bolivia.

In 2010, he blocked Washington’s nomination of diplomat Larry Palmer as ambassador in protest of Palmer’s comments that there were “clear ties” between members of Chavez’s government and leftist Colombian rebels.

The State Department responded by revoking the visa of Venezuela’s ambassador.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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