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Feb 17, 2013 11:56 AM by Associated Press

Venezuela open to improved ties with Washington

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's foreign minister says the government of President Hugo Chavez wants improved relations with the United States.

Elias Jaua says Chavez has asked Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States to seek improved ties with officials in Washington.

Chavez has had a rocky relationship with the U.S. for years, though the country remains the top buyer of oil from Venezuela.

The U.S. Embassy in Caracas has been without an ambassador since July 2010 when Chavez rejected the U.S. nominee for the post. The president had accused the nominee of making disrespectful remarks about Venezuela's government. That led Washington to revoke the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador.

Jaua spoke about the possibility of improving relations with the United States during an interview broadcast on Sunday.

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