Caracas, April 27, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed on Saturday his government's willingness to improve diplomatic ties with Spain provided that they are grounded on "mutual respect".
The announcement comes in the midst of heightening tensions between the two nations in which the Bolivarian government accused Spain of meddling in its internal affairs, prompting Madrid to recall its ambassador for consultations.
Nonetheless, after the latest heated exchange this past Wednesday, both countries took a milder tone, calling for improved relations.
"The Spanish government issued a statement expressing its willingness to maintain positive relations with our government; and I welcome positive relations but they must be based on mutual respect," announced the socialist leader in a televised address on Saturday.
The Venezuelan president's overture elicited a response from Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia, who stated on Sunday, “As soon as Maduro says that we can conduct relations with mutual respect, we will be more than happy to accept his offer.”
"With all probability, the ambassador to Venezuela will return to Caracas in the following hours," the foreign minister added.
Relations between the two countries have become increasingly strained since the Spanish Parliament's April 15 resolution calling for the release of far right Venezuelan opposition leaders currently jailed and facing trial for criminal offenses.
The move was vigorously rejected by the Bolivarian government, which considered it a clear act of interference in Venezuela's domestic affairs.
While voicing his wish for better relations with Madrid, Maduro reiterated his call for mutual respect from his Spanish counterpart.
"Respect me, Mr. Rajoy, and I will respect you. But if you disrespect Venezuela, I will defend her," emphasized the head of state.