19:01 GMT16 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed the situations in North Korea and Venezuela during a meeting in the US capital, Department of State spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a press release.

    "Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met today in Washington with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres", the release said Wednesday. "The Secretary and UN Secretary-General discussed the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, ongoing events in Venezuela, and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, among other matters".

    READ MORE: North Korea Refuses to Hold WHO Regional Session Due to Sanctions — Reports

    Pompeo also expressed concerns to Guterres over Iran's activities in the Middle East that the United States believes undermine UN efforts to resolve conflicts in the region, the release said. In addition, Pompeo expressed his condolences to Guterres for 19 UN affiliated personnel killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on Sunday.

    The long-anticipated second summit of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was held in the Vietnamese capital in late February. Although the two leaders did not arrive at any concrete agreement at the summit, Trump praised progress in talks and said that negotiations would continue at the level of experts. He also noted that since North Korea was not willing to denuclearize the specific areas that Washington wanted, while seeking full sanctions removal, it was not appropriate to sign an agreement at this point.

    However, the situation on the Korean Peninsula have been reportedly improving since early 2018, much due to intensification of Pyongyang-Seoul-Washington talks. Since the beginning of last year, three inter-Korean summits and two meetings of North Korean and US leaders have already been held.

    READ MORE: US State Department Does Not Rule Out New Sanctions on North Korea

    Meanwhile, Venezuela is currently in the midst of a political crisis. On 5 January, lawmaker Juan Guaido was elected as the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016.

    On 23 January, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president". Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

    The United States immediately recognized Guaido, after which some 50 other countries followed suit. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government of constitutionally elected Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have refused to recognize Guaido, declaring themselves neutral and promoting crisis settlement via dialogue.

    READ MORE: Trump Blames Cohen Hearing for Failure of North Korea Summit


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