The United States affirmed on Wednesday that it wants to maintain diplomatic representation in Caracas as tensions between the two countries continue over the newly-appointed US ambassador to Venezuela.
“We regret the Venezuelan government’s decision to withdraw agreement for Ambassador designee Palmer. We have said that many times. We believe that it is precisely because there is tension in the relationship that it is important to maintain diplomatic communications at the highest level,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner in a conference call briefing.
“It is in our national interest to do so,” he added while declining to respond directly to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s remarks.
Chavez dared the US to “cut diplomatic relations” and reiterated his refusal of the nomination of US Ambassador in Caracas Larry Palmer, who was appointed four month ago.
The Venezuelan government affirms that Palmer made comments in Washington last September, saying that the morale is low in the Venezuelan military and the government there has ties with Columbian rebels.
“We believe it is in our national interest to have an ambassador in Caracas so that we can candidly express our views and engage with the government of Venezuela,” noted Toner.
“There are tensions in the relationship, and it is precisely because of that, we feel that it’s important to have appropriate diplomatic relations,” he concluded.