VOA’s Steve Herman at the White House, Nike Ching at the State Department, Carla Babb at the Pentagon, and Patsy Widakuswara, also at the White House, contributed to this report.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday a strong U.S.-Russia alliance could result in a better global community.
“Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia,” Trump tweeted one day after he had what he described as a very positive phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The World can be a better and safer place. Nice!” Trump added.
In the conversation, which exceeded an hour, Trump said Venezuela was among the issues he discussed with Putin.
“He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. I feel the same way,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon.
Trump, speaking alongside Slovak Republic Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, described his discussion with Putin on Venezuela as “very positive.”
Tension has grown in recent days between Washington and Moscow over the increasingly destabilizing events in Caracas. The Trump administration has accused the Russians of preventing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from giving up power and fleeing the country.
“This is our hemisphere,” national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a phone call earlier this week, told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “grave consequences” should there be further aggressive steps in Venezuela, interpreted as a warning to Washington not to intervene militarily.
“They will have an opportunity, obviously, to meet and review whatever topics they choose to,” a senior State Department official told reporters on a conference call previewing Pompeo’s trip.