Excluded from Americas Summit, Maduro visits Turkey

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Turkey on Tuesday for an official visit as other Latin American leaders gathered for a summit in Los Angeles, to which the United States did not invite him.

The VTV state channel showed footage of Maduro arriving at the airport in Ankara, where he was received by senior officials of Turkey, an important ally of Venezuela.

"I am delighted to start this international tour, in the lands of the sister Turkish nation," Maduro wrote on Twitter.

"I appreciate the warm welcome and affection they have shown us. I am sure that we will consolidate the ties of union and cooperation between our peoples."

Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba were not invited to a week-long Summit of the Americas, hosted by Washington. Mexico's president skipped the event in protest at the exclusion of the three countries' leaders.

Leaders of the so-called Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were also absent, even though illegal migration from the region is expected to be a key talking point.

Maduro arrived in Turkey hours after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia, another ally.

Lavrov was in the country to discuss unblocking grain exports from Ukraine, stalled by Russia's war on its neighbor.

It was not known if Maduro and Lavrov would meet, but the Venezuelan leader is to be received by his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Turkish presidency.

"All aspects of Turkey-Venezuela relations will be reviewed and steps to enhance the relations will be discussed," a presidency statement said.

Turkey is a friend of Venezuela, which sought to reinforce ties with countries such as China, Iran and Russia after US sanctions against the Maduro government.

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