Mérida, June 23rd 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon agreed to "normalize" diplomatic relations in a telephone call on Tuesday, according to the Venezuelan daily newspaper Ultimas Noticias.
Shannon called Maduro to express U.S. President Barack Obama's desire to re-establish relations as soon as possible, and Maduro agreed, the newspaper reported.
According to Ultimas Noticias, the two countries discussed the reinstatement of their respective ambassadors "as soon as possible"
Diplomatic relations between the two countries soured after the U.S. supported a coup d'etat against the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in April 2002. Relations froze last September 11th, when Chavez expelled U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy in solidarity with Bolivia, which had expelled its U.S. ambassador on suspicion of conspiracy with a violent separatist movement in Bolivia's eastern provinces. The U.S. subsequently expelled Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez the following day.
At the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in April of this year, President Obama and President Chavez cordially shook hands and spoke twice, setting the stage for improved relations.