Will meet Trump over regional matters, says Maduro

Caracas, Sep 24 (IANS) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that he will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump to discuss regional matters.

Maduro made the remarks on Wednesday during his virtual speech at the General Debate of the 75th session of UN General Assembly, reports Xinhua news agency.

Highlighting Venezuela as having the largest oil reserves in the world, the fourth-largest gas reserves and rich gold reserves, Maduro said these resources have caught the attention of “oligarchs in Washington” who want to control his country.

Maduro said a drone assassination attempt on him in Caracas was prepared and funded from the US and that he wants a special UN rapporteur to carry out an independent investigation into the attack.

Meanwhile he confirmed the intention to meet with Trump, saying that while Venezuela is peaceful and friendly and appreciates the culture, art and social life of the US, it is against the “imperialists in Washington”.

In an interview with Axios in late June, Trump said that he would consider meeting with Maduro, while also suggesting he's had second thoughts about his decision to recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of the South American nation.

Guaido and Trump met at the White House this February after the President invited him to attend his State of the Union address before Congress and praised him as Venezuela's “legitimate” President.

If Maduro and Trump meet, it would completely upend the latter's administration policy on Venezuela, as top officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have backed Guaido.

In March, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the Justice Department was charging Maduro and 13 other Venezuelan officials with narco-terrorism.

The President in August 2019 had also expanded sanctions against the country into an embargo.



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