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Russia ready to talk with U.S. on Venezuela crisis, foreign minister says

May 2, 2019

Russia is willing to hold talks with the Trump administration about the crisis in Venezuela despite “incompatible” positions on the fate of the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday.

The foreign minister announced Thursday Moscow is moving to form a group of countries within the United Nations to “counter U.S. plans for military intervention in Venezuela,” state-run news agency RIA news reported.

“I hope that it will receive serious support in the organization, because it is a very simple thing. It is difficult to somehow distort this topic, the protection of fundamental norms and principles of international law, as they are written in the U.N. charter,” Mr. Lavrov said.

Despite U.S. officials’ statements that the U.S. is keeping “all options” on the table, including military intervention in Venezuela, Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which would oversee any potential U.S. military operation in Venezuela, said this week he has not received orders to pre-position troops in preparation to intervene.

In a phone call with Mr. Lavrov on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “urged Russia to cease support for Nicolas Maduro and join other nations” in recognizing opposition leader Juan Gauido as the country’s rightful leader, according to a State Department spokesman.

Mr. Pompeo warned Mr. Lavrov that “intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and for the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship.”

According to RIA, Mr. Lavrov told Mr. Pompeo, “Based on our principled position ... we never interfere in the affairs of others and urge others to do the same.”

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