00:47 GMT18 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed that Venezuelan officials were in talks with the United States, adding that this dialogue has been ongoing for several months.

    US President Donald Trump earlier said Washington was in talks with Venezuelan senior officials.

    "I confirm that contacts with representatives of the US government have been maintained for several months, with my permission," Maduro said in a statement, which was broadcast on Twitter.

    "We are talking to the representatives at different levels of Venezuela [government] ...I  don't want to say who but we are talking at a very high level," Trump said earlier.

    On Monday, Axios media outlet reported, citing five current and former US officials, that Trump had privately suggested to national security officials that the Pentagon should station Navy ships around Venezuela to prevent goods from entering and exiting the Latin American nation.

    Venezuela has long been suffering from an acute economic and political crisis that intensified in January when, after disputing President Nicolas Maduro's re-election, US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country’s interim president.

    Maduro has called Guaido a US puppet and accused Washington of orchestrating a coup to force a change of government in Venezuela and claim the country's resources.

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