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Russia ready to continue dialogue on Venezuela with US — senior diplomat

The seriousness of the situation leaves no room for error, Sergei Ryabkov said

ROME, March 19. /TASS/. Russia is ready for specialized contacts on Venezuela with the United States, although the most important thing is not the format but the dialogue on the situation in the Latin American country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday following consultations with US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams.

"We are ready to continue the dialogue with the US on the issue, because the seriousness of the situation leaves no room for error," he said. "We need to understand each other’s intentions as accurately as possible."

"In what form that will be done is of secondary importance," Ryabkov went on to say. "If these are specialized contacts, we are ready for them. At least, there will be no problem here as far as we are concerned."

Ryabkov said his talks with Abrams had been difficult, but frank.

"The conversation turned out to be difficult, but open," the diplomat said after consultations.

The senior diplomat also said that the developments unfolding in Venezuela necessitate a more active international dialogue through all channels.

The Russian diplomat stressed the importance of establishing a dialogue inside the country, which is possible "only in conditions when there are no attempts of putting pressure from outside and imposing this or that pattern of political development".

US has groundwork for use of military force in Venezuela

Ryabkov is certain that the United States has groundwork for the use of military force in Venezuela.

"We cannot view the US wordings that all options for resolving the situation in Venezuela are on the table as rhetoric. This is a statement of fact," he said. "Consequently, Washington apparently has plans to this effect, has groundwork for the use of military force to resolve the situation in Venezuela in the worst case scenario."

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said that he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.