US open to restoring diplomatic ties with Venezuela, says official

April 21st, 2009 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 21 (EFE) The US government has said that it views as positive Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposal to discuss the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Dialogue is what we believe is important. And we will see where and how things go with regard to President Chavez’s suggestion that we exchange ambassadors. We’re looking at it. We think it’s a positive idea, and we’ll go from there,” State Department’s spokesman Robert Wood said Monday.

US officials will work with Venezuela toward the “shared goal” of the return of ambassadors to the respective capitals, the spokesman said at the daily briefing for reporters, without giving further details.

Chavez and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton briefly discussed the matter Sunday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, he added.

Chavez expelled the US ambassador to Venezuela last September in solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales’ expulsion of Washington’s envoy in La Paz, who he accused of meddling in his country’s internal affairs.

The US government responded by expelling the Bolivian and Venezuelan envoys in Washington.

The Bush administration repeatedly denounced Chavez as a would-be dictator and a destabilising force in Latin America, while Venezuela accused the US of being imperialist.

Despite the exchange of hostilities between the two countries, Venezuela remains a key oil supplier for the US.

Chavez said at last weekend’s summit that he wants to be Obama’s “friend” and has already designated veteran diplomat and former foreign minister Roy Chaderton to serve as the country’s next ambassador to the US.

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