Russia tells the United States that it is ready for bilateral talks on Venezuela

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, in Moscow, Russia, 1 March 2019. REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is ready to take part in bilateral talks with the United States on the question of Venezuela, Russian Foreign Minister told his US counterpart last night.

The situation in Venezuela was the main topic in a phone call between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on 2 March, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on his website.

"In connection with the Washington proposal to hold bilateral consultations on the Venezuelan theme, it was stated that Russia is ready to participate in this," the ministry said in a statement.

"It was essential to be rigorously guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter because only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their own future," reads the statement.

Russia and the United States have been at loggerheads on a US-led campaign for the international recognition of Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who declared himself the provisional head of state, on President Nicholas Maduro.

In the phone call, initiated by the United States, Lavrov condemned the threats Washington has made towards "the country's legal leadership," the ministry said, referring to Maduro.

At the beginning of this month, the United States imposed new sanctions on six Venezuelan security officials and revoked the visas of dozens of members and their families with links to Maduro, with the latest move to force him to resign.

Lavrov and Pompey also agreed to continue talks at expert level in Syria, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Jason Neely

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