US, Russia divided on Venezuela after talks in Rome

The Trump administration's envoy to Venezuela says the U.S. and Russia remain split on how to resolve the Latin American country's crisis after talks in Italy

"We did not come to a meeting of the minds, but the talks were positive in the sense that I think both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other's views," Abrams told reporters after the meeting at a luxury hotel in Rome.

He said it's "perfectly plausible" that the two sides meet again but no date was set.

Russia backs Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and has accused Washington of meddling in the country's affairs by pressing him to step down and hand over power to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Speaking to Russian media, Ryabkov emphasized the need for dialogue with the U.S. but warned Washington against military intervention.

"We have warned the U.S. against that reckless approach," Ryabkov said in remarks that were carried by the state Tass and RIA Novosti news agencies.

Abrams insisted the U.S. will continue to keep its options open but said it has chosen the path of putting political, financial and diplomatic pressure on Maduro's regime.

Pope Francis has reportedly written to Maduro indicating conditions aren't ripe for the Vatican to step in and help mediate.


Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.