Less than a day after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro invited U.S. President Donald Trump to a meeting based on mutual respect, the U.S. leader said Wednesday he would be open to meeting his Venezuelan counterpart.
Maduro said he hoped to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Trump. The White House responded to a similar request last year by saying such a meeting would happen when the country returned to democracy.
"I'm even willing to talk to President Trump, I think if President Trump and I speak, we could understand each other. Hopefully one day ... the miracle of a face-to-face conversation will take place between President Donald Trump of the United States and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela," the Venezuelan leader said during his speech in Caracas Tuesday.
"I would certainly be open to it — I'm willing to meet with anybody," Trump said on Wednesday as he arrived at the United Nations headquarters after answering a question by a reporter about Maduro's invitation to meet. "We're going to take care of Venezuela. If he's here and he wants to meet — it was not on my mind, it was not on my plate — but if I can help people that's what I'm here for."
The comments come just a day after the United States imposed new sanctions on President Maduro's wife and several of his top allies on Tuesday as Trump also appeared to back a military coup against Maduro in comments he made to reporters Tuesday shortly after his speech at the UNGA.
The latest sanctions are further extending the already-brutal economic war Washington has been waging against the socialist country with the help of its right-wing allies in the region in an effort to oust the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
"All options are on the table, everyone," Trump told reporters Wednesday. "The strong ones and the less-than-strong ones — and you know what I mean by strong. Every option is on the table with respect to Venezuela."