Caracas, Dec 29 (AFP) The top diplomat at the United States’ embassy in Venezuela briefly met with that country’s foreign minister today to “press” for the release of an American man detained since June 2016, the mission said in a statement. Also Read - 'Another Phase of Greatest Witch Hunt', Says Donald Trump After US Senate Acquits Him in Historic Impeachment Trial

Charge d’affaires Todd Robinson had a “frank” discussion with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza for 20 minutes, in which he asked for Joshua Holt, a 25-year-old Mormon missionary from the US state of Utah, to be freed, the statement said without giving further details. Also Read - US Court Seeks Status Report On Visas To Family Members Of H1-B Holders

Holt was arrested by Venezuelan intelligence officers on June 30, 2016 at his home on the outskirts of Caracas. Also Read - The Weeknd Performs Live At Super Bowl Halftime Show, Fans Share His Then-And-Now Photos

He is being held in the headquarters of the SEBIN intelligence agency under accusations of possessing weapons, being a spy and plotting against President Nicolas Maduro.

His family, which rejects the charges, says Holt’s health has deteriorated in captivity.

His detention is one of several thorny issues festering between the United States and Venezuela.

Relations between the two nations have long been fraught and have worsened as US President Donald Trump’s government has ratcheted up sanctions on Maduro, whose tightening grip on power has seen him criticised as a “dictator.” Venezuela and the US have not had ambassadors in the other country since 2010. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.