Venezuelan wants to meet Trump

US oil refiners push back on potential economic sanctions against Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has said he wants a face-to-face meeting with US President Donald Trump.

"To all the presidents, I call on them to approve a meeting and through mutual dialogue, we can find a solution", said Maduro.

"These terrorist actions which affected the Movilnet's GSM platform on Wednesday left without communication seven of the state operator's 13 million users", science and technology minister Hugbel Roa said.

Maduro said he had also given orders, "if it can happen", for a face-to-face meeting to be organised with Trump when heads of state and government from around the world gather in NY on September 20.

On Thursday, Trump said he discussed Venezuela along with North Korea and Afghanistan in a security briefing with top national security aides and Vice-President Mike Pence, who travels to neighbouring Colombia on Sunday in a trip where discussions on how to pressure Maduro is expected to feature prominently. Energy sector sanctions, which could cripple Venezuela's already ailing economy, are still being considered, USA officials said.

But Maduro struck a defiant stance against what he called America's "imperialist aggression", accusing Washington of being involved in an attack on an army base last weekend by uniformed rebels led by two renegade Venezuelan officers.

Venezuela is facing mounting global criticism over a crackdown on opponents and moves to consolidate power, including the selection of the all-powerful assembly controlled by Maduro.

The 545 elected members, all Maduro supporters, will draft a new Constitution.

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Venezuela's government is continuing to crack down on opponents with an order to arrest a fifth opposition mayor who has been promoting protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

In his speech, Maduro stated that the constituent assembly had authority over all branches of government, including the presidency.

Though the two countries are longtime allies, some in the Maduro opposition now say Russian Federation is exploiting Venezuela's problems to gain permanent leverage over the country.

The assembly, being called a "legislative superbody" by the global press, was his creation and won approval in a national election on Sunday that the opposition made the huge mistake of boycotting because they said it was illegitimate.

He added that Venezuela "will never cede to foreign powers".

WATCH Inside Story: Venezuela: New beginnings or more of the same?

After the Treasury Department announced direct sanctions on Maduro last week, he poked fun at Trump for becoming president through the electoral college but losing the popular vote in the November election.

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