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17 Dec

Venezuela’s Maduro willing to meet Trump

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says he’s willing to meet US President Donald Trump.Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has offered to meet US President Donald Trump, during a speech at the UN General Assembly in which he accused Washington of carrying out “ongoing attacks on our nation.”

Despite enormous historical, ideological and social differences, “the president of Venezuela would be willing to reach out my hand to the president of the US and discuss these matters bilaterally,” he said.

“I stand ready to talk with an open agenda about anything he might wish to talk about … openly, sincerely, honestly,” Maduro continued.

He said Venezuelan investigations had shown that a drone attack targeting him at a military ceremony in Caracas on August 4 had been “prepared and funded from the territory of the United States.”

He called for a special rapporteur to be appointed by the UN to investigate the attack, in which seven soldiers were injured.

He also accused the US of “financial persecution,” of imposing “illegal sanctions” on Caracas, and pointed to a New York Times report this month which said that the Trump administration had held talks with Venezuelan military officials on the possibility of carrying out a coup against Maduro.

Earlier, Trump had said he would “certainly be open” to a meeting with the Venezuelan president. “Anytime I can save lives and help people – if it’s one life, I’m certainly willing to meet,” he told reporters.

The US president also said that “all options are on the table,” regarding Venezuela. “The strong ones and the less than strong ones. Every option. And you know what I mean by strong,” he said.

Venezuela is suffering an economic, political and humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the country. Colombia alone hosts nearly 1 million Venezuelans.

But Maduro also denied that there was any such crisis, saying “now the media is trying to fabricate a migrant crisis in Venezuela.”

“There is a media campaign against us which seems to go on and on, endlessly,” he said.

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