Gibbs: Obama open to meeting with Chavez

April 17, 2009 at 1:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama is open to meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez.

Gibbs said while Obama has no current plans to meet with the Venezuelan president during the Summit of the Americas, the U.S. leader would welcome any offer of a one-on-one meeting from Chavez, CNN said.

"Every time I pull the president aside to have a conversation we've had that conversation, so I assume he would do the same," Gibbs said in reference to the possibility of such a meeting during the Trinidad and Tobago summit.

Obama was scheduled to travel Friday to the summit, which represents a meeting of top North and South American leaders.

Chavez told CNN in an exclusive interview in February that he wanted to meet with Obama and attempt to forge a similar relationship to the one his country had with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"I am ready to talk with the U.S. president," Chavez said. "Let's hope, and I have said this, perhaps we can restore the relations to the same level that we had with the Clinton administration."

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