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U.S. says not considering sanctions on Venezuela


09:02, April 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration said here on Tuesday that it was not considering any sanctions on Venezuela, as the South American nation has vowed retaliation against any such moves.

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that Venezuela was reading too much into what Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America Roberta Jacobson had said over the weekend.

In an interview with CNN's Spanish channel, Jacobson said that she could not rule out sanctions if Venezuela does not have a recount of last week's disputed presidential election, as demanded by the United States and the Organization of American States.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua responded on Monday by vowing to take "commercial, energy, economic and political measures" against the United States in retaliation.

"I'm not sure exactly what he's referring to, but I'm not aware of any particular effort afoot in terms of sanctions of Venezuela at this point," Ventrell said at a regular news briefing.

As for Jacobson's remarks, Ventrell said: "I think her position was not indicating one way or another in that interview."

"I think the Venezuelan side may have looked at that and read into we're considering something," the spokesman added. "I'm saying that that's not something that we're currently contemplating at this moment."

Washington has not recognized Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela's new president, after he was sworn in last Friday despite the Venezuelan opposition's demand for a recount of the votes. Maduro won the election by a narrow margin.

U.S.-Venezuela relations have been strained in recent years, and the two countries have not had each other's ambassadors since July 2010. But the United States remains the largest buyer of Venezuela's oil.

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