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CARACAS, Wednesday January 09, 2013 | Update
 
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DIPLOMACY

Washington sees chance to improve relations with Venezuela

US State Department SpokeswomanVictoria Nuland on Wednesday publicly confirmed reports about a telephone conversation the Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson held with VenezuelanVice-President Nicolás Maduro in late November

EL UNIVERSAL
Wednesday January 09, 2013  09:28 PM
The United States on Wednesday said that it remains interested in improving relations with Venezuela, adding that if there is political and popular willingness, there is a "path that is possible," regardless of whether Hugo Chávez is in office or not.

"Regardless of what happens politically in Venezuela, if the Venezuelan Government and if the Venezuelan people want to move forward with us, we think there is a path that's possible," said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

"It's just going to take two to tango," she warned, however, according to DPA.

The United States has been very cautious in assessing the events that are taking place in Venezuela because of Chávez's failure to appear at his swearing-in ceremony for a new constitutional, which was scheduled for January 10.

At all times, as Nuland reiterated on Wednesday, Washington has stressed that this is a decision that has to be made by Venezuelans. However, she claimed that the stakeholders have to be taken into account.

"This is a decision that has to be made by Venezuelans, for Venezuelans, that it has to involve and take into account the views of a broad cross-section of stakeholders," Nuland said about the Supreme Tribunal of Justice's decision ruling out a temporary or absolute absence of Chávez. Therefore, the top court decided that it is constitutional to delay Chávez's swearing-in for the 2013-2019 term.

"We've had plenty to say about the Venezuelan Supreme Court in the past. What's more important is how Venezuelans see this decision of the court, and we're going to see what kind of reaction comes. And they deserve and need to have the conversation among themselves," she added.

Yet Washington showed willingness to continue high-level contacts in the immediate future.

The spokeswoman publicly confirmed the reports about a telephone conversation between Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson and Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, in late November, that is, before Chávez traveled to Cuba to undergo his fourth cancer operation on December 11.

"We have for some time made clear that we were willing and open to trying to improve our ties with Venezuela. We've put a number of ideas forward to the government. We've been in conversation about it," Nuland said.

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