U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the 9/11 observance at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. | Photo: Reuters

The U.S. President Donald Trump will host his counterparts from Peru, Colombia and Brazil on Monday, with the topic of Venezuela slated to be a top priority.

“Trump needs to show that he has good friends in the region who share a positive agenda with the United States, but I am not sure he will get what he wants,” a Brazilian diplomat told Reuters.

Cuba will also be discussed at the dinner, which will take place at the Trump Tower in New York, one day before the opening of the U.N. General Assembly there.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto declined his invitation to attend.

The dinner comes in the wake of renewed sanctions the United States placed on Venezuela last month. In August, Trump also said he would not rule out the option of military action against the country.

In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control placed restrictions on six members of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly.

It also comes in the wake of talks the Venezuelan government is holding with opposition groups in the Dominican Republic.

The Brazilian diplomat who spoke with Reuters hinted that despite Peru, Colombia and Brazil’s condemnations of Venezuela, they are unlikely to support the tougher unilateral economic sanctions that the U.S. president favors.

“Colombia and Brazil prefer a negotiated solution to the crisis and not economic sanctions that will hurt the Venezuelan people more than the government,” said the Brazilian diplomat.

Peru, however, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based policy group, told Reuters, has not objected to the financial sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Venezuela.

“But if the U.S. ratchets up sanctions, like cutting off oil imports, and takes a more interventionist position on Venezuela, that could distance the United States from its Latin American neighbors,” he said.


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