US may nominate new Venezuela envoy
Tue, 04 Jan 2011 02:23:41 GMT
US President Barack Obama's administration has raised the possibility of naming another ambassador to Venezuela in a move to defuse Washington's diplomatic row with Caracas.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters on Monday that the United States regrets that Venezuela withdrew its approval from the nomination of Larry Palmer. He insisted that the career diplomat would have been an "excellent interlocutor" in trying to improve the tense relations between the United States and Venezuela.
Crowley added that Washington will have to once again name a candidate for the position. He did not specify whether the government of Barack Obama will be adamant that Palmer be appointed or if it will back down, accept Caracas' stance and name somebody else.
The comments by the State Department came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chatted briefly with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the inauguration of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday.
In June 2010, Obama named Palmer to replace Patrick Duddy. However Chavez withdrew his approval of Palmer in August.
Palmer had told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Venezuela harbored Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and National Liberation Army guerrilla groups.
He had also said that the Venezuelan military was under Cuban influence and low in morale.
Chavez finally withdrew diplomatic approval for Palmer late last year.
The State Department in return revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington Bernardo Alvarez.