Caracas: Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro said Friday that he would not pass up a chance to meet with his US counterpart Donald Trump, if that meant ironing out the countries’ many disagreements.
Just back from his UN General Assembly trip, Maduro was speaking in response to remarks made by the US leader at the meeting that Venezuela was a “mess” that had to be “cleaned up”.
“I’m told that the United States president once again mentioned me. My response is that I am brave enough, decisive enough and forceful enough to meet President Trump, greet him with respect and establish a high-ranking dialogue… If such an opportunity were to arise, I would not miss it,” said the socialist leader, whose country is in an economic mega-crisis.
“I would be ready to meet any time, any place, extend my hand, speak, see him face to face and look in his eyes. And I know that if that were to happen, a lot of things would change,” Maduro said at the international airport in Maiquetia, near Caracas.
While at the UN General Assembly, Trump also remarked that all options were on the table in the case of Venezuela. Thousands have fled hunger and economic collapse in the state-led economy.
On whether he would meet Maduro, Trump kept his cards close to his vest, saying only that he’d see what happens.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury announced new sanctions against Venezuelan first lady Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, an attorney and the president’s wife, as one of the figures who has helped Maduro retain his grip on power, along with Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.
He said Maduro’s socialism “has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.”