US, Venezuela face off over American ambassador

US, Venezuela face off over American ambassador
Washington: Tensions flared between the US and Venezuela as Caracas formally rejected an agreement to allow US diplomat Larry Palmer's nomination as the American envoy to the country, and Washington warned the move would have consequences on bilateral relationship.

The US acting charge, Darnall Steuart, met with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, wherein the latter presented her with a diplomatic note formally withdrawing the "agreement" of Palmer to be the ambassador to Venezuela.

Palmer had agitated Venezuela President Hugo Chavez after he expressed concern over Colombian rebels taking refuge in the country and suggested that Venezuelan military's morale might be low.

The United States warned Venezuela of the consequences it might have to face of its decision to withdraw from the diplomatic agreement.

"We regret this action taken by the Venezuelan government, and it will bear responsibility for that action.
We believe that precisely because there are tensions in the relationship, it was important to maintain diplomatic communications at the highest level," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

"We will evaluate the implications of this. We made clear to Venezuela that this kind of action would have
consequences, and, you know, we'll evaluate what to do in light of Venezuela's decision," Crowley said.

US President Barack Obama nominated Palmer to serve as ambassador to Venezuela because he has the unique combination of experience, skill and wisdom to successfully represent the United States in Caracas, Crowley said.

"And we have never wavered in that view," he said insisting that Palmer is still Obama's nominee for this
Ambassadorship and has not been withdrawn. "We have no plans of withdrawing the nomination," Crowley said, even though this nomination is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

"The decision has been reached by Venezuela not to accept Mr Palmer as the ambassador should he be confirmed by the Senate. And obviously that has consequences in terms of our relationship with Venezuela," he said.

He said the US has been discussing the issue with Venezuelan authorities for some months now.

"We have cautioned them that if they were to withdraw agreement, it would have an impact on our ongoing relations," he said.
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