SANTO DOMINGO — The United States and Venezuela said on Tuesday they would launch new high-level talks as the South American country struggles with a growing humanitarian crisis.
With the Venezuelan opposition pushing to remove President Nicolas Maduro, the United States urged "constructive" steps to ease the situation in the volatile oil-exporting state.
The two nations have had tense relations for years, with Venezuela’s socialist leaders accusing Washington of trying to topple them. But the countries’ top foreign envoys sat down together Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional gathering.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said he discussed the opposition’s drive for a recall referendum during the meeting with Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez.
Maduro himself said later in televised comments that he agreed to "a new stage of dialogue" between his government and US officials.
The two countries withdrew their respective ambassadors in 2010 but Maduro said he was "ready to appoint ambassadors and regularise relations."
Kerry told reporters he would send top State Department envoy Thomas Shannon to Venezuela "as soon as possible".
Shannon has met with officials in Venezuela before but this time the talks would have a "larger agenda," Kerry said.
Kerry met with Rodriguez in the Dominican Republic after the general assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). — AFP