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Iran Press TV

Trump 'open to meeting Venezuela's Maduro' amid hints of fragile trust in Guaido

Iran Press TV

Monday, 22 June 2020 6:56 AM

In an apparent overture to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, US President Donald Trump has suggested that he is open to meeting the Latin American leader, also sending signals of his waning confidence in opposition leader Juan Guaido.

In an interview published on Sunday, Trump said he would consider meeting his Venezuelan counterpart.

"I would maybe think about that. ... Maduro would like to meet. And I'm never opposed to meetings," Trump told online news site Axios from the Oval office on Friday.

Until now, the Trump administration has pursued a hardline policy in regard to Caracas, slapping several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich Latin American country with the aim of ousting Maduro and replacing him with Guaido.

In recent months, the Trump administration has been exerting pressure on Maduro by indicting the leftist leader as a "narco-trafficker" and offering a 15-million-dollar "reward" for his arrest.

In the meantime, Guaido, who declared himself as interim president of Venezuela in 2019 and launched an abortive coup with the backing of Washington and a number of rogue soldiers, has failed to wrest control of the Venezuelan government despite support from the US and dozens of other countries.

Analysts say Trump's recent comments signal the president's flagging confidence in Guaido.

Asked whether he regretted having thrown his weight behind the opposition figure, Trump initially said,"Not particularly," but then went on to say, "I could have lived with it or without it, but I was very firmly against what's going on in Venezuela."

Trump said that at the point he made his decision, "I think that I wasn't necessarily in favor, but I said – some people that liked it, some people didn't. I was OK with it. ... I don't think it was very meaningful one way or the other."

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton, has in his book due to be released to the public on Tuesday, written that Trump viewed Guaido as a "weak kid who doesn't have what it takes", while he described Maduro as the "strong, smart, and tough" leader of the country.

According to Venezuela's television network Telesur, Guaido has proven to be more of a problem than someone who can facilitate Washington's plans to oust Maduro and his government.

"The lawmaker has been involved with money laundering plots, international corruption scandals, ties with narco-paramilitary groups, and even a recent foiled attempt to start a coup led by US mercenaries," the network's website added.

Bolton has also written in the book titled "The Room Where It Happened" that Trump believed the US owned Venezuela, telling his advisers it would be "cool" to invade the oil-producing, yet impoverished, Latin American country.

US economic pressure on Venezuela has caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.

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