Venezuela sanctions relief needs ‘concrete steps,’ Sullivan says

WASHINGTON — Sanctions relief for Venezuela will be tied to “concrete steps” from the President Nicolas Maduro’s government, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

“Any sanctions relief that we provide” has to be “tied to concrete steps that Maduro and the people around him take,” Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked about engagements with Venezuela that could help to put additional oil in the market.

Sullivan’s comments come after Maduro hosted senior Biden administration officials last Saturday to discuss the easing of sanctions on the oil industry. Days later, the government released two jailed American political prisoners.

The U.S. has warmed to the idea of negotiating directly with Maduro as it seeks to boost oil output and distance Russia from its allies, although it clarified Thursday that importing Venezuelan oil is not currently an active conversation. The U.S. hasn’t formally recognized the Maduro government since 2019, when it threw its support behind opposition figure Juan Guaido, calling him the legitimate interim leader.

“What came out of the trip by U.S. officials to Venezuela last week was the release of two American citizens who are now home reunited with their families,” Sullivan said. “There are more American citizens still in Venezuela, heartbreakingly, who we are working around the clock to try to get out.”

Article Source: The Columbian