Tensions between Spain and Venezuela, which erupted last week after Venezuela accused Spain of interfering in internal affairs, appeared to diminish Sunday after conciliatory statements from both nations.
Speaking of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia said Sunday, “As soon as Maduro says that we can conduct relations with mutual respect, we will be more than happy to accept his offer.”
Garcia responded to Maduro's recent statement reaching out to Rajoy, adding, “with all probability, the ambassador to Venezuela will return to Caracas in the following hours.”
Maduro announced Saturday that he seeks to improve diplomatic relations with the Spanish government, after tensions flared due to attempts by Spanish lawmakers to meddle in the Latin American country's internal affairs.
During a televised speech the Venezuelan leader said that on Friday, "the Spanish government issued a statement expressing its willingness to maintain positive relations with our government; and I welcome positive relations but they must be based on mutual respect."
Maduro added that his government is willing to cooperate in any efforts to improve diplomatic relations but emphasized that Venezuelan sovereignty must be respected.
Spain and Venezuela summoned each other’s ambassadors April 15, as accusations flew back and forth of a Venezuelan opposition crackdown and Spanish “racism” and “meddling.”
Tensions rose over Spain’s support for jailed opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, and Leopoldo Lopez, a right-wing political leader. Lopez is accused of playing a role in protests against the government that left 43 people dead last year, while Ledezma has been linked to a recent coup attempt thwarted by the Maduro government.