US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering costs and creating jobs in the Hudson Valley, at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Oct 6, 2022.
(MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden didn't rule out the possibility of easing sanctions on Venezuela, telling reporters on Thursday his administration has "a lot of alternatives" to counter the effect of a decision by a group of the world's most prominent oil-producing countries to reduce production.
"There's a lot of alternatives. We haven't made up our mind yet," Biden said before departing the White House, calling the announcement made the previous day by the group known as OPEC+ a "disappointment." He was answering to a shouted question from the press whether easing sanctions on Venezuela was one of the options.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Biden administration is considering easing sanctions on Venezuela so that Chevron, a major US oil company, can be allowed to resume pumping oil in the Latin American nation
The OPEC+, which comprises members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil-rich countries, announced Wednesday during a gathering in Vienna, Austria, that the group will cut production by 2 million barrels per day from November.
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The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Biden administration is considering easing sanctions on Venezuela so that Chevron, a major US oil company, can be allowed to resume pumping oil in the Latin American nation. Washington has been calling for ramping up oil production to buttress the global economy.
Citing anonymous US government sources, the report said the easing of sanctions is conditioned on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holding talks with the opposition in good faith.
"There are no plans to change our sanctions policy without constructive steps from the Maduro regime," Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, was quoted as saying.
A senior administration official told reporters Wednesday during a background call that the US policy toward Venezuela has not changed. "We continue to believe that a Venezuelan-led dialogue that leads to the restoration of free and fair elections in the country is our priority and are prepared to calibrate our overall sanctions policy accordingly," the official said.
READ MORE: US says no change to Venezuela sanctions policy