Caracas, Oct 2: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said here Tuesday that there would be no “cordial ties” with the US until Washington respects Venezuelan sovereignty.
Maduro remarks came a day after he expelled US charge d’affaires Kelly Keiderling, the top US diplomat in the country, and two others, accusing them of meeting with right-wing opposition leaders and encouraging “acts of sabotage” against his country, Xinhua reported.
“Until the US government understands it has to respect Venezuela, which is a sovereign country, there will simply be no cordial relations, nor cordial communication,” Maduro said during a cabinet meeting.
During the meeting, Maduro played a video showing the three US diplomats leaving a meeting with members of the political opposition in Puerto Ordaz, in southeast Bolivar state, home to Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant.
“This is the first video with elements that show that these agents accredited by the country, are trying to fish in troubled waters. They want to stir the waters, they have specific goals such as destabilising the country,” he said.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied the allegations, insisting that the expelled diplomats ” were there conducting normal diplomatic engagement”.
Maduro said Venezuela will not resume contact with Washington ” until US President Barack Obama rectifies” the current US policy toward Venezuela.
On Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua notified the US embassy in Caracas of the expulsions, giving the diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.