The United States trusts that its recent high-level visit to Venezuela will not “embitter” the meeting that President Joe Biden and his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, will hold this Thursday.
A senior US official, who requested anonymity, spoke in this way about a topic that both presidents will probably discuss in their first official meeting in person, which will take place at the White House.
“I don’t agree that this is going to make the meeting bitter,” the official said in a telephone press conference.
Colombia has shown signs of discomfort regarding press reports that Biden is considering lifting part of the sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector that his predecessor, Donald Trump, imposed to contain energy prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In statements to The Financial Times newspaper, Duque said this week that although it was not up to him to “judge” Washington’s actions, he remains convinced that Nicolás “Maduro is a war criminal” whom neither the US nor many other countries recognize. officially as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
Colombian Energy Minister Diego Mesa told the same newspaper that if “you have just banned oil from what they call the Russian dictator, it is difficult to explain why you are going to buy oil from the Venezuelan dictator.”
The aforementioned US official who spoke to the press said that “no decision has been made” on the purchase of Venezuelan oil and that “it is not something” to which the United States “has committed” or with which it has “negotiated” . during his visit to Caracas.
In the same sense, he denied that he promised to lift sanctions on Venezuela as a reward for the release of the two Americans imprisoned in the country and Maduro’s announcement that he would reactivate dialogue with the opposition.
The source acknowledged that the United States did not inform Colombia in advance about the trip that the US delegation made to Caracas on Saturday, but that it did so “immediately after.”
“We are not going to ask other countries for permission to get US citizens to reunite with their families,” he settled.
The official stressed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the international scene and the United States must “protect its security and economic interests” through contacts on the continent, “whether it likes leaders” like Maduro or not.
The Colombian government leads the opposition in Latin America to the Maduro regime, which it does not recognize and with which it has not had diplomatic relations since February 2019.
The official agenda of the meeting between Biden and Duque includes topics such as regional migration, the promotion of democracy in the Americas, the recovery after the covid-19 pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the White House.