Meeting with Obama to bring "relations of respect" with U.S., Maduro says

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that following his "short meeting" with U.S. President Barack Obama in Panama, an "opportunity could open up for relations of respect" between the two countries.

In exclusive statements to Caracas-based channel TeleSUR, Maduro said the encounter on the sidelines of the seventh Summit of the Americas with Obama "was brief, of just around 10 minutes" and added that perhaps in the coming days he will reveal details about the conversation.

"I told him that our government is not an enemy of the United States, neither is our people, or our Commander Hugo Chavez. We are friends of the United States," said Maduro.

Also, the Venezuelan president said the meeting was "honest" and the two leaders "told each other our truths."

"As a result of this brief meeting with President Obama, maybe in the near future there could be a possibility to engage in a dialogue with the United States and explore a new path of relations of respect," he said.

The meeting was widely expected after Maduro called upon Obama to repeal an executive order issued by the White House in March on Venezuela and led a petition drive against it.

During his speech at the summit, Maduro said that he does not trust Obama but is willing to talk to ease tensions after bilateral relations soured last month when Obama issued the executive order declaring Caracas "an unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security.

More than 13 million people signed the petition asking Obama to repeal the executive order.

Fellow Latin American leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba and Ecuador rallied behind Maduro, as the U.S.-Venezuela spat contrasted with the diplomatic thaw that Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro were pursuing at the summit. Endi

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