US President Donald Trump and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro have said that talks were under way between senior officials from their governments to attempt to resolve the South American country’s deepening crises.
“We are in touch. We’re talking to various representatives of Venezuela,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
He declined to say which officials were engaged in the talks, saying only that “we are talking at a very high level,” and adding that “representatives at different levels of Venezuela” were involved.
Maduro confirmed the talks later on Tuesday, saying that “for months, there has been contact between senior officials of the United States, of Donald Trump, and the Bolivarian government that I preside over,” in a message broadcast on radio and television.
He described the talks as “secret meetings in secret places with secret people that nobody knows”.
“Just as I have sought dialogue in Venezuela, I have sought a way in which President Donald Trump really listens to Venezuela,” Maduro said, also without confirming which officials were involved in the talks.
He followed up his address with a post on Twitter, saying Venezuela was “seeking to normalise the conflict that exists with the US empire”. “I believe in Dialogue, I believe in Peace!” it said.
Maduro’s comments came a day after Vice President Diosdado Cabello denied allegations that he was in secret talks with members of the US administration.
Earlier this month, Maduro blamed Washington when he cancelled scheduled talks with his country’s opposition led by Juan Guaido, the speaker of the National Assembly who proclaimed himself interim president in January.