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Putin ‘supports dialog between Venezuela government, opposition’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) is about to shake hands with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on September 25, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country supports dialog between the Venezuelan government and opposition.

In a meeting with his visiting Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, in Moscow on Wednesday, President Putin said, “No doubt we support the dialog that you, Mr. President, and your government are having with the opposition forces.”

“We believe that any refusal to have dialog is irrational, harms the country, and only threatens the population’s well-being,” the Russian president said, two days after Maduro announced that pro-government legislators would return to the opposition-led National Assembly as part of a deal between the two sides.

The Venezuelan government’s renewed recognition of the opposition-controlled National Assembly came as part of a deal with opposition groups.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Putin also praised the growing cooperation between the two countries, and noted that Russia had made an investment of nearly four billion dollars in the Venezuelan economy.

He added that Moscow planned to send 1.5 million doses of flu vaccine to the Latin American nation “in the near future.”

Russia is the second largest lender to Caracas after China and has heavily invested in Venezuela’s oil resources.

For his part, the Venezuelan president praised bilateral cooperation, saying, “Together, we can overcome any difficulties.”

The development came as Washington, which has imposed an oil embargo on Caracas to undermine Maduro’s government, has repeatedly pressed Moscow to withdraw its support for the Venezuelan leader. Russia, however, has rejected that request.

Putin’s spokesman had earlier said on the eve of the meeting that the two leaders would also discuss “direct meddling in Latin American affairs by third parties,” in an apparent reference to the US and other governments opposed to Maduro.

The Venezuelan leader last visited Moscow for talks with Putin in December last year.

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