TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In a speech at the newly-created National Constituent Assembly on Thursday, Maduro said, “We will never cede to foreign powers,” adding that Trump had to end his “imperialist aggression” toward Venezuela.
Maduro said, however, that he had instructed his foreign minister to try to set up a one-on-one meeting between him and Trump.
He said he wanted the meeting, “if it can happen,” to be held when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20.
“If he (Trump) is so interested in Venezuela, here I am. Mister Donald Trump, here is my hand,” he said.
The US has slammed Venezuela for the establishment of the National Constituent Assembly, where Maduro was speaking on Thursday. Washington has called the institution “illegitimate” and in service of a “dictator.”
The day after elections were held for the Assembly, the US slapped sanctions on Maduro. The US broadened the sanctions later this week by imposing bans against several members of the assembly.
Venezuela has been reeling from unrest for several months in a crisis caused by political disagreements — including on the formation of the Constituent Assembly — and shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation.
The opposition says the leftist government of Maduro is to blame for the crisis. The government accuses foreign powers and “right-wing terrorists” for the unrest.
Maduro ‘subordinates’ himself to assembly
In his Thursday speech at the Constituent Assembly, Maduro “subordinated” himself to the supreme body, recognizing it as Venezuela’s most powerful legal institution.
“This is a very special day. Today we have the National Constituent Assembly together, and I am here to recognize its plenipotentiary powers, sovereign, original, and magnificent to govern the destinies of the Republic,” Maduro said in his first appearance in the newly-elected legislative body on Thursday, Presstv reported.
“As head of state, I subordinate myself to the powers of this Constituent Assembly,” the Venezuelan president said.
Maduro reiterated that the National Constituent Assembly held supreme powers over all the three branches of the government.
He expressed hope that the Assembly’s efforts to rewrite the constitution would return “peace” to Venezuela, where political violence has taken more than 120 lives over the past several months.
Maduro’s domestic and foreign opponents accuse him of having created the supreme legislative body to quash dissent.
President Maduro, however, says the 545-member supreme body is needed to restore peace and stability to the crisis-hit Latin American country.