US, Venezuela hold talks on oil exports to replace Russia's

TEHRAN, Mar. 07 (MNA) – The US is seeking to ease oil sanctions on Venezuela as part of a broader US strategy to temper oil prices that have skyrocketed due to Russia’s operation in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.

US and Venezuelan officials discussed the possibility of easing oil sanctions on Venezuela but made scant progress toward a deal in their first high-level bilateral talks in years, five sources familiar with the matter said, as Washington seeks to separate Russia from one of its key allies, Rueters reported. 

A US delegation led by Juan Gonzalez - the top White House Latin America adviser - and Ambassador James Story held talks at the Miraflores palace with socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, the sources said.

U.S. officials saw the meeting as a chance to gauge whether Venezuela, one of Russia's closest Latin American allies, is prepared to distance itself from President Vladimir Putin over his attack on Ukraine, a source in Washington said.

Washington also wants to identify alternative oil supplies to fill the gap if it seeks a boycott of Moscow's energy industry. Venezuela could boost crude exports if Washington eases sanctions.

The White House, the US State Department and Venezuela's Information Ministry declined to comment.


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