Venezuela’s Maduro, opposition should speak; US eases some sanctions – source Reuters – zimo news

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Celia Flores dance during a May Day celebration in Caracas, Venezuela, May 1, 2022.REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Valoria

By Vivian Sequera, Matt Spetalnick and Marianna Parraga

Caracas/Washington (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the country’s opposition will announce the resumption of talks as Washington eases some sanctions to pave the way, according to U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter. the way.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration approves American oil companies Chevron Corp (NYSE 🙂 will start talks with Maduro’s government to temporarily lift a ban on such talks, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Washington has yet to make a final decision on renewing the limited license Chevron currently operates in Venezuela, multiple sources told Reuters. Chevron is the latest U.S. oil producer to maintain operations in Venezuela, which has the world’s largest crude oil reserves.

The United States is also preparing to remove Eric Malpica, a former official of state oil company PDVSA and the nephew of Venezuelan First Lady Celia Flores, from the sanctions list, a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Erick Malpica).

U.S. officials said the moves were made in consultation with Venezuela’s opposition, after the highest-level U.S. delegation in years visited Caracas in March, leading to the release of two U.S. prisoners.

Maduro has asked the U.S. to lift sanctions on Malpica as part of talks in Caracas, two people familiar with the matter said. Venezuela’s opposition said it was not seeking to remove any sanctioned officials. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The socialist leader also expressed a willingness to resume talks with the opposition in Mexico, but he abandoned talks in October, sources said, and the parties are expected to set a date for the resumption of talks soon.

On Tuesday, a photo of the two leaders of the government and opposition negotiating groups was tweeted (NYSE 🙂 showing them shaking hands. The caption: “At a working meeting on a future project. Save the Mexican spirit.”

The talks are aimed at resolving Venezuela’s long-standing political crisis, and Washington has insisted that any major sanctions relief will depend on progress in the talks. The United States has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president, condemning Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a hoax. Maduro remains in power.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez tweeted that her administration wants Washington to finally lift all “illegal sanctions affecting our people.”

On Monday, the Biden administration announced a revised Cuba policy, including easing some of the Trump-era restrictions.

The United States is preparing to host the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in early June. The leaders of Mexico and Bolivia have threatened to skip the meeting if the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Maduro are excluded. U.S. officials insisted the summit had nothing to do with political action in Cuba and Venezuela.

‘bodyguard’

One of the officials said the decision to allow Chevron to connect with PDVSA, the heart of Venezuela’s oil sector, included “safeguards” to prevent going beyond a narrow mandate to discuss “activities” in the country. potential future”.

The U.S. next steps depend on Maduro’s “constructive” actions in the negotiations, the officials said.

“He did not authorize (Chevron) to enter into any agreement with PDVSA or any other activity involving PDVSA,” a senior administration official told reporters.

The official said sanctions would be adjusted based on “ambitious, concrete and irreversible outcomes” in the negotiations, warning that the U.S. measures could be reversed if Maduro backs down.

Chevron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Biden’s Democratic colleague, said in a statement that the administration “must refrain from lifting any additional sanctions until Maduro makes concrete concessions at the negotiating table. .



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