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Newsline: State Department excuses handshake between top U.S. climate envoy and Venezuela’s Maduro

The State Department on Tuesday excused a handshake between top Biden administration climate envoy John Kerry and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as an “unplanned interaction.” Kerry was caught on video briefly meeting Maduro, Venezuela’s president, at the COP27 U.N. climate meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The brief but friendly encounter raised eyebrows on social media because Maduro has been charged by the U.S. government with narco-terrorism, conspiracy to import cocaine and possession of deadly weapons. In 2020, the State Department – which Kerry led under President Obama from 2013 to 2017 – offered a reward of up to $15 million for any information leading to the arrest and capture of Maduro. Kerry’s brief meeting appeared friendly and cordial. However, State Department spokesman Ned Price downplayed the encounter by saying Maduro interrupted Kerry during the meeting. “He briefly spoke to Special Envoy Kerry during COP27,” Price said. “This was not… planned or substantive in any way.” (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/john-kerrys-handshake-accused-narco-terrorist-nicolas-maduro-unplanned-state-dept) Price did not offer any insight or updates on whether the U.S. is any closer to securing Maduro’s capture, and stressed the brief meeting with Kerry did not touch on substantive issues.

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