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Post-Chavez Venezuela makes overture to US

Foreign minister Elias Jaua says country is looking to 'resume diplomatic representation at the highest level'.

Last Modified: 20 May 2013 00:31
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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has said government would like to increase dialogue with the US [Reuters]

Venezuela's foreign minister has signalled that his country is ready to improve its diplomatic ties with the United States.

"We are going to remain open to normalising relations with the United States," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said on Televen television on Sunday.

"The first thing would be to resume diplomatic representation at the highest level," he said.

The country's late socialist president Hugo Chavez was a staunch critic of the US, and his successor Nicolas Maduro is still feeling out its footing with Washington.

For more than 14 years, Chavez consistently directed verbal broadsides on US leaders, before his death in March. The United States and Venezuela have not even had ambassadors in each other's countries since 2010.

Maduro, who earlier said his government would like to increase dialogue with the United States, has selected lawmaker Calixto Ortega as its potential US envoy.

US President Barack Obama however has not congratulated Maduro for his controversial, razor-thin April 14 election, as Maduro's opposition rival Henrique Capriles presses claims that the Venezuelan presidential election was marred by irregularities.

Maduro meanwhile slammed Obama "the top leader of devils" after he commented on post-election unrest in Venezuela.

Despite the bad blood, Venezuela sells about 900,000 barrels of oil every day to the United States. 

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