US and Venezuelan officials praise diplomatic talks

Top diplomats hail talks held in Haiti over the weekend as important step towards normalising relations between two countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Venezuela and the US on Monday praised diplomatic talks to normalise their relations.

Officials from both sides met in Haiti on Saturday to discuss shared interests between the two countries, including their mutual support for Haiti’s upcoming parliament elections and helping the Haitian people in their struggle against Cholera.

Both sides have taken a different tone towards one another in recent weeks after Venezuela earlier in the year accused the US of plotting a coup, ordering it to reduce its embassy staff and imposing a visa requirement on visitors from the country.

In turn, the US declared Venezuela a national security threat, and ordered sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and human right abuses.

The US and Venezuela have not had ambassadors in each others’ countries since 2010.

At the meeting Venezuela was represented by Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello while the US sent Thomas Shannon, adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry and Pamela White, the US ambassador.

“We held a working meeting in Haiti with Tom Shannon and the US delegation en route to normalising relations,” Rodriguez tweeted after the meeting on Saturday.

The meeting came after US media reports that Washington was investigating Cabello over his involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering activities.

Relations between two countries have been icy since Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez assumed elected office to lead the OPEC member in 1999.

Tensions rose with Washington during the administration of George W. Bush who supported a failed coup attempt against Chavez in Venezuela in 2002.

However, the growth of Venezuela's domestic oil industry strengthened economic ties between the two countries. Venezuela remains the fourth biggest provider of crude oil to the US.

TRTWorld and agencies