Bolton, Italian Deputy PM Discuss Bilateral Cooperation on Venezuela

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Thursday that he discussed with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio the possibility of US-Italian cooperation on the Venezuelan crisis.

“Met Italy’s Deputy PM Di Maio this afternoon to discuss US-Italian cooperation on the crisis in Venezuela”, Bolton said via Twitter.

Italy is one of a few countries in the European Union that has declined to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

Italy is currently participating in a ministerial-level meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela that is being held in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.

Bolton and Di Maio also discussed managing the US-Italian relationship around China and the strong bilateral security partnership the United States and Italy share as members of NATO, according to the statement. 

In January, Guaido, backed by the United States, declared himself the interim president of Venezuela after disputing President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last May. Washington immediately endorsed Guaido, called on Maduro to step down and seized billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuela’s oil assets.

Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a puppet leader beholden to Washington. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.