Venezuela wants US to revoke decree calling Caracas a threat

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in Caracas on March 27, 2015, after the United States qualified the situation in Venezuela as a national security threat (AFP Photo/Federico Parra)

Caracas (AFP) - Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Wednesday she pressed a visiting US diplomat over Caracas' wish to have Washington revoke an order calling Venezuela a national security threat.

Rodriguez, who met with Thomas Shannon, top counselor in the State Department, urged Shannon to have Obama revoke the order.

President Nicolas Maduro has said it could be used as a pretext for invading Venezuela to get hold of the world's largest proven oil reserves.

A ministry statement said Rodriguez reaffirmed Venezuela's demand that US President Barack Obama revoke his March 9 executive order in which Venezuela is deemed an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security.

The Venezuelan diplomat's meeting comes on the eve of Obama's scheduled encounters with Maduro at the Summit of the Americas, set to get under way on Friday in Panama.

Ongoing friction between Washington and socialist Venezuela -- Communist Cuba's main ally in the region -- threatens to overshadow the two-day Americas summit just as Washington had hoped to herald its improved relations in the region.

Maduro plans to bring a petition with 10 million signatures from Venezuelans demanding that Obama remove the executive order.

The White House on Tuesday sought to ease tensions, saying the designation of Venezuela as a threat was merely bureaucratic wording used in such executive orders.