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  • The two countries maintain close ties.

    The two countries maintain close ties. | Photo: EFE (Archive)

Published 10 July 2017

The two leaders held a telephone conversation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, with the two leaders discussing bilateral cooperation, including energy sector projects, the Kremlin press service said Monday.

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"The leaders exchanged views on a number of practical issues of the Russian-Venezuelan cooperation. In particular, they discussed the implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects in the energy sector," the Kremlin said.

"Maduro informed about the Venezuelan government’s efforts to normalize the political situation in the country," the Kremlin said.

According to Venezuela's Communications Ministry, Putin expressed "satisfaction with the progress in bilateral cooperation" including a joint venture for a "bus assembly company" in the South American nation.

The Venezuelan statement also stated Putin "acknowledged President Maduro's courage and effort to maintain the stability and peace of the country and expressed his rejection of internal and external political efforts that attempt to disregard the constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."

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Since early April, Venezuela has been marred by violent, opposition-led protests that have killed over 90 people and left more than 1,500 injured.

On Saturday, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was given house arrest after serving more than three years in a military jail. Lopez was convicted by Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz's office for his role in instigating deadly protests in 2014 that killed 43 people.

Despite the move, the opposition MUD coalition called for a "shutdown" roads for 10 hours Monday as part of their continued efforts to thwart the National Constituent Assembly called by President Maduro. On several occasions President Maduro has called for the cessation of violence and dialogue as a way to resolve the conflict, however, MUD has rejected this possibility and has maintained its calls for street protests.

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