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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. | Photo: REUTERS

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Maduro mused that he'd cherish the opportunity to “extend (Trump) a handshake and to tell him that we're in the 21st century.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated that his country wants to live in peace during an interview with RT Spanish Wednesday.

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Faced with a new round of U.S. sanctions against 13 Venezuelan senior officials, Maduro urged U.S. President Donald Trump to exercise reason and halt his administration's interventionist policy in Venezuela.

“As president, I appeal to him, to President Donald Trump: Stop aggression towards Venezuela. Venezuela is a fundamental basis of stability in the whole Caribbean Basin,” Maduro said.

Contemplating an eventual meeting with Trump, Maduro mused that he'd cherish the opportunity to “extend (Trump) a handshake and to tell him that we're in the 21st century.” He added that U.S. officials should “dismiss the Monroe Doctrine” because times have changed and these times required an acceptance of “diversity and new, more advanced relationships.”

Venezuela's head of state noted that U.S. foreign affairs strategists should deliberate with greater rationale and end their aggressive stance because “Venezuela wants to live in peace, it wants to live quietly.”

He emphasized, however, that if the situation deteriorates beyond the harmonious confines of dialogue and peace, something that the people of Venezuela desperately want, “the Bolivarian Revolution will have to take up arms and, once again, we'll be fighting under the same flag.”

Confronted by an emboldened opposition which has been documented to work closely with sanctions-wielding Washington, Maduro recalled that he'd spent almost the entire month of May “seeking direct dialogue” with them in order for Venezuelan society as a whole to “become members of the Constituent Assembly, but they refused.”

Adding that his political adversaries have ventured to “the radical right,” skirting even traditional allies “who voted for them,” Maduro admitted that his greatest error as president was to “underestimate the opposition, their capacity to inflict damage, their malice, their capacity for violence.”

Maduro also announced that Venezuela will sign new gas and oil agreements with Russia, as he emphasized the importance of maintaining good economic partnerships with major powers.

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“For the second half of the year, important documents will be signed to expand bilateral investments between Russian oil and gas companies and our PDVSA,” Maduro told Russia Today.

The announcement comes as the United States increasingly threatens and enacts sanctions against Venezuela. On Wednesday the U.S. Treasury Department made good on Trump threats to impose sanctions on the country if the National Constituent Assembly vote went forward on Sunday, July 30.

Maduro confirmed that despite U.S. attempts to rattle Venezuela's economy via an “indirect blockade,” the country is equipped to meet all challenges. The end game of such obstruction, as was attempted in 2015 and 2016, Maduro argued, is to force Venezuela's economy to default.

Despite these attempts, he said that the country has always “paid its bills, met its obligations.” In the event of a complete cutoff between Caracas and Washington, Maduro assured that “the roads leading to the west, to the south, and to the east, fortunately, will stay open for Venezuela.”

Maduro explained that it is essential to maintain good relations and strong partnerships with major global economic powers like Russia and China, and that he was thankful for the solidarity expressed to Venezuela by these nations.

The president said that Russian-Venezuelan relations are “advancing at a good pace,” particularly in the realm of oil, considering the significant investments that Russia has in the Orinoco oil fields.

In addition to oil trade, the two countries share a broad range of mutual cooperation encompassing over 200 agreements in fields ranging from medicine to tourism, agriculture, and mining.

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