ANKARA, March 13. /TASS/. The government of Venezuela remains a "committed ally" of Russia, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia said in an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.
"We are the committed allies of the Russian government," the diplomat said on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Turkey’s Antalya.
Felix Plasencia told EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Saturday that his country was ready to engage in dialogue with the European Union, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said.
"During a meeting in Antalya, Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia reaffirmed Venezuela’s readiness to engage in a peaceful dialogue to the EU high commissioner for foreign affairs and security policy," the statement says.
According to the report, the meeting was held in a "pleasant and cordial atmosphere."
In the course of the conversation, Plasencia conveyed "Venezuela’s demand to lift unilateral coercive measures from the country."
In an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu news agency earlier on Saturday, the Venezuelan top diplomat said his country was ready to cooperate with the United States in the oil sphere, on the condition that Venezuela’s sovereignty is duly respected.
"I hope they respect the sovereignty and legitimacy of my government. President [Nicolas] Maduro is the only legitimate head of the Venezuelan government. We can achieve great results in the oil trade area if we convince them to respect that," he said on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Antalya.
Plasencia said Caracas never forced US oil companies out of the country.
"We never asked them to leave the country, it was their own decision. Regretfully, they took unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela. I hope those measures would be cancelled, and we would respect each other," he added.
According to the diplomat, Venezuela currently extracts one million barrels of oil every day. By the end of the year, the government expects to double this figure, together with "reliable partners from Russia, China and Iran.".
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, but aims to demilitarize and denazify the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, therefore there are no threats to the civilian population. Subsequently, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and some other countries announced sanctions against Russian companies and individuals.