Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday discussed the situation in Venezuela and Venezuelan oil purchases with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during their meeting on Monday, Mr. Pompeo told the press at a briefing.
Asked if there was a discussion on India’s oil purchases Mr Pompeo said, “Yeah, so we’re asking the same thing of India as we are of every country: Do not be the economic lifeline for the Maduro regime.”
“ So we talked about – I certainly won’t characterise the conversations; they’re private conversations. But I’m very confident – in the same way that India has been incredibly supportive of our efforts on Iran, I’m confident that they too understand the real threat to the Venezuelan people. And so we had a good conversation around that.”
India and seven other countries were given a six month exemption from U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran and allowed to purchase a limited quantity of Iranian oil without facing sanctions. Mr. Gokhale’s discussions in Washington are expected to cover the renewal of the sanction exemption.
Regarding Venezuela, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton had warned India and other countries last month against purchasing oil from Venezuela on Twitter in response to Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo making a trip to India to pitch for more oil sales .
“Nations and firms that support Maduro’s theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten”, Mr Bolton had tweeted above a link to a report on Mr Quevedo’s visit to India .
In the process of tightening the screws on the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela and paving the way for Juan Guaido – whom the U.S. recognizes as the legitimate Interim President of Venezuela, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on the country, including on the sale of oil by the Maduro regime , which it does not recognise.