Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said Thursday, August 10 he wants a one-to-one talk with US President Donald Trump, who has slapped him with sanctions, but stood defiant against "imperialist aggression," AFP reports.
Speaking to a new, all-powerful loyalist assembly he saw installed through elections last month, Maduro said he had instructed his foreign minister to set it up "so I have a personal conversation with Donald Trump."
He said he had also given orders, "if it can happen," for a face-to-face to be organized in New York on September 20 when heads of state and government from around the world gather for a UN General Assembly.
"If he's so interested in Venezuela, here I am. Mister Donald Trump, here is my hand," he said.
But Maduro used substantial parts of his three-hour-plus speech lambasting the "imperialist" US for perceived actions against his regime. "We will never cede to foreign powers," he said.
The United States hit Maduro with sanctions on July 31, the day after the election of the loyalist Constituent Assembly that Washington said was "illegitimate" and in service of a "dictator."
It followed up this week with more sanctions against several members of the assembly.
The measures freeze any US assets of those designated and bar Americans from doing business with them.
Maduro stated that the assembly held supreme powers over all branches of government, even over his position, and that its work -- ostensibly to rewrite the constitution -- would return "peace" to the country.
But the United States and major Latin American nations say Maduro is using the body as a tool to quash dissent, by clamping down on the opposition and the legislature it controls.