Venezuela's Maduro says ready for talks with Trump


Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said Thursday he wants a meeting with President Donald Trump - the same man he ridicules as a crass imperial magnate and blasts for United States sanctions against officials in his socialist administration.

He said he wanted the meeting، "if it can happen،" to be held when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20.

"If [Trump] is so interested in Venezuela, here I am", he said during his address to the assembly.

"Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand", Maduro said during the three-hour speech, in which he later accused "imperialists" of threatening his regime.

The decree was issued a day after the National Assembly said it will ignore the decisions of the constituent assembly, and two days after a small group of soldiers and civilians from Carabobo state declared themselves in rebellion against Maduro's government, seeking "to restore constitutional order" in the country.

Maduro and his government have faced growing opposition from the U.S. and major Latin American nations over the controversial legislative superbody, which sparked months of deadly protests across the country.

The sanctions followed Friday's installation of a legislative superbody known as the constituent assembly, made up entirely of allies of the ruling Socialist Party and armed with the power to re-write the constitution.

Both Smolansky and Muchacho have also been barred from holding public office.

The verdict brought to 23 the number of mayors targeted by legal action, according to the opposition.

The developments fuelled tensions that have been flaring in Venezuela for the past four months.

The overture signaled a different approach for the defiant Maduro, who has delighted in publicly attacking the USA -and Trump in particular-for supposedly instigating protests against the regime.

More than 125 people have died in violence since the opposition began a sustained wave of protests in April.

But hackers have taken up the torch.

The ambassadors also recognized that candidates from across the political spectrum had enrolled to participate in the regional elections in December.

"Rosneft is definitely taking advantage of the situation", Elias Matta, vice president of the energy commission at Venezuela's elected National Assembly, told Reuters.

'The legitimity of the Electoral Power has been recognized together with this National Constituent Assembly.

A British-based company, Smartmatic, that supplied the voting technology has said the turnout figure was "tampered with".

Since late July, President Trump has slapped sanctions on 22 Venezuelan leaders, including Maduro.