(28 Jan 2019) Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Monday that all Venezuelan diplomats in the United States have returned to Venezuela.
“It’s important for you to know that there are no Venezuela diplomatic personnel in the United States,” he said during a news conference in Caracas.
The government of Nicolas Maduro broke relations with the United States on Wednesday after the Trump administration and many other nations in the region recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, a move that Maduro called a “vile” coup attempt.
His order gave U.S. diplomats three days to leave the country, but the Trump administration said it wouldn’t obey, arguing that Maduro is no longer Venezuela’s legitimate president.
That set the stage for a potential showdown at the hilltop U.S. Embassy compound Saturday night, when the deadline was to expire.
Later, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Maduro’s government was suspending the expulsion to provide a 30-day window for negotiating with the Trump administration on setting up a “U.S. interests office” in Venezuela and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States.
On Monday, Arreaza said Maduro “evaluate the naming of a team (for Venezuelan interest office in the U.S.) if in fact this proposal will be respected by both countries.”
The Foreign Minister stressed Maduro’s willingness to dialogue with the opposition.
“If it’s 15 minutes, we’ll meet up. If it’s tomorrow, we’ll meet up. If it’s in one week, we’ll meet up,” Arreaza said.
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