US willing to improve ties with Venezuela

During Hugo Chavez`s period, the relationship between the US and Venezuela has plumed to an all-time low.

Washington: The US has expressed willingness to improve its ties with Venezuela, as the uncertainty over Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez`s health continues.

Chavez, 58, who has been at odds with the US and during his period the relationship between the two countries has plumed to an all-time low, is suffering from cancer.

The Venezuelan government on Wednesday announced that he would not attend his inauguration - his fourth – on Thursday.

"Regardless of what happens politically in Venezuela, if the Venezuelan Government and if the Venezuelan people want to move forward with us, we think there is a path that`s possible. It`s just going to take two to tango," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"We have for some time made clear that we were willing and open to trying to improve our ties with Venezuela. We`ve put a number of ideas forward to the government. We`ve been in conversation about it," she said.

"We had been saying for some time that if the Venezuelans were willing to work with us, we were willing to consider what might be possible, but there have just been difficulties. So again, from our perspective, it need not be personality-based, but it`s going to take action on the Venezuelan side as well as our willingness in order to improve relations," she said.

The State Department spokesperson said the basic US underlying principles for this are unchanged, that this is a decision that has to be made by Venezuelans, for Venezuelans.

"It has to involve and take into account the views of a broad cross-section of stakeholders," she said.

"So we will be, obviously, interested in the broader Venezuelan reaction and the conversation that ensues following the Supreme Court`s pronouncements. But this is something that very much has to be consensual, has to be agreed, has to be transparent, as it moves forward. But it`s not a decision for us to make. It`s for Venezuelans to make," she noted.

The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the Obama administration has embarked on a discreet but concerted weeks-long diplomatic initiative to open channels of communication with his sharply anti-American government.