0515 GMT June 30, 2022
Officials from the two countries discussed easing oil sanctions on the South American country but made little progress towards reaching a deal, five sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.
“Last Saturday night a delegation from the government of the United States of America arrived in Venezuela; I received it here at the presidential palace,” Maduro said in a broadcast on state media on Monday.
“We had a meeting, I could describe it as respectful, cordial, very diplomatic,” he said.
The meeting lasted two hours, he said, without specifying the topics discussed, or who the U.S. delegates were.
Sources previously told Reuters the U.S. delegation was led by Juan Gonzalez, the White House’s top adviser on Latin America, U.S. Ambassador James Story, as well as Roger Carstens, the United States’ presidential special envoy for hostage affairs.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the purpose of the trip was to discuss a number of issues, including “energy security” and the cases of nine U.S. citizens who are in prison in Venezuela.
The talks will continue, Maduro said, without offering a date.
“As I said to the (U.S.) delegation, I reiterate all our will so that from diplomacy, from respect, and from the hope of a better world, we can advance in an agenda that allows well-being and peace,” Maduro said.
The discussions come a little more than three years after the U.S. broke off relations with Maduro and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader. They came together after months of quiet backchannel talks by intermediaries – American lobbyists, Norwegian diplomats and international oil executives – who have been pushing for U.S. President Joe Biden to revisit the so-far-unsuccessful “maximum pressure” campaign to unseat Maduro that he inherited from the Trump administration.