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Signs of Rapprochement as US, Venezuelan Officials Meet

FILE - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, March 26, 2015.

President Nicolas Maduro says a recent meeting between Venezuelan and U.S. officials has opened an important channel that could lead toward restoration of full diplomatic relations.

Maduro's comments came Monday night following a weekend meeting in Haiti that included the head of Venezuela's National Assembly and senior U.S. State Department official Tom Shannon.

A State Department spokesperson described the weekend talks as productive.

U.S.-Venezuelan relations deteriorated rapidly this year after Venezuela ordered the U.S. to slash its embassy staff in Caracas, and then the U.S. declared Venezuela a security threat and imposed sanctions on top officials.

Maduro often has accused Washington of plotting to overthrow his socialist government.

He said the two sides are discussing restoration of diplomatic relations. The countries have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.