Venezuela says it will restore diplomatic ties with Spain

Venezuela says it will restore diplomatic ties with Spain

CARACAS: Venezuela said on Wednesday it will normalise relations with Spain and that the two countries will restore ambassadors after a spat in January that followed European Union sanctions against the South American nation.

President Nicolas Maduro in January withdrew his envoy to Madrid in response to what he called "repeated meddling" in the country's internal affairs, leading Spain to respond in kind.

The two countries have "agreed to begin a process of normalizing diplomatic relations," Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that ambassadors would be restored in the coming days.

The European Union in January sanctioned a group of Venezuela officials over abuses associated with opposition protests, a move that followed a series of sanctions by Washington over similar issues.

Venezuela has faced heavy criticism from the United States and Europe, as well as Latin American neighbours, for last year's creation of an all-powerful legislature called the constituent assembly that critics call the creation of a dictatorship.

The decision to call snap presidential elections for May 20 has been widely criticized as undermining the possibility of a free and fair election in the crisis-torn country.

Maduro routinely criticizes Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during live television broadcasts, and has accused Spain of working with other European governments to destabilise his government.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: Reuters