Mon, 06 Jul 2020

Venezuela's Socialist President Nicolas Maduro says he is on his way to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

In a speech broadcast on Twitter, the embattled South American leader on September 23 said that "tonight I will head to Russia with an official visit in order to meet with our friend -- President Putin.'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Putin will meet with the presidents of Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines in Sochi on the sidelines of the Valdai Club meeting, an annual gathering of Russian and Western foreign-policy experts set for September 30- October 3.

Maduro earlier in the day thanked Russia for its support for Venezuela's "sovereignty and its right to peace."

Maduro also said he was open to talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in the future if the U.S. leader "decides to correct the wrong policy of waging war against Venezuela at some point he inherited from Barack Obama."

The United Stastes has stepped up pressure on Maduro to step down following months of protests against his rule on the streets of the South American country.

Washington has pressed Russia and China to withdraw what he called their 'intolerable' support for Maduro.

Maduro took office in 2013 and was sworn in for a second term in January following elections in May 2018 that were marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.

The opposition has also accused the socialist Maduro of mismanaging the economy, sending the country into an economic crisis. Maduro has blamed outsiders, including the United States, for creating the crisis.

Based on reporting by TASS and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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