By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido said Wednesday he is aware of the contact between President Nicolas Maduro's government and the U.S.
This initiative is part of "a strategy" seeking "cessation of usurpation," Guaido said at a news briefing, according to Spanish EFE Agency.
Maduro confirmed Tuesday talks "based on respect" maintained at a governmental level with the U.S. to "reach an understanding between the two nations.”
Speaking at an opening ceremony in La Guaira, Venezuela's port city, Maduro added the collaborators close to U.S. President Donald Trump "[sold] him a lie" about Venezuela and they conspire and impose sanctions on that basis.
The statements by government and opposition leaders came after Diosdado Cabello, the number two man in the Venezuelan government, denied allegations Monday that he was in secret talks with members of the U.S. administration.
Cabello said that such talks are only possible under four conditions.
"Under the authorization of President Nicolas Maduro, discussing Venezuela, here in Venezuela and with the owners of the circus," he said, taking a jab at the U.S administration.
A U.S. official close to the Trump administration last month met Cabello, who is considered the most powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, according to an Associated Press report.
The U.S is "in a listening mode to hear what it would take for them to betray Maduro and support a transition plan," the unnamed official said.
The report follows Washington's move earlier this month to freeze all assets of the Venezuelan government in a significant escalation of tensions.
Since the beginning of this year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and Guaido engage in a power battle.
Guaido in January proclaimed himself the rightful president of Venezuela, dismissing Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, a move recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S.
But Venezuelan state institutions, military and many countries including Russia, China, Iran and Turkey have put their weight behind Maduro.