June 19, 2018

Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro Backs Talks With Reluctant Opposition

17 September 2017, 08:25 | Devin Moran

Venezuela leaders and opposition explore possibility of new talks

Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro Backs Talks With Reluctant Opposition

Medina also thanked the representatives of the government of Venezuela and the opposition, as well as the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, for the support to Venezuela's dialogue.

The Venezuelan government and the country's opposition have begun a new round of talks in the Dominican Republic, where the lead government representative has announced an agreement is close. The Maduro administration was represented by Libertador Mayor Jorge Rodriguez, President of the National Constituent Assembly Delcy Rodriguez and diplomat Roy Chaderton.

"The secretary general encourages the Venezuelan political actors to seize this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to address the country's challenges through mediation and peaceful means", said a statement from Guterres's office.

The opposition's main coalition issued a tepid statement warning that no new dialogue had begun, but saying it was sending a delegation after an invitation from the Dominican president to discuss conditions needed for serious dialogue.

Jorge Rodriguez, a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, said some progress had been made towards face-to-face negotiations.

The political upheaval in Venezuela is going on, now the government and opposition leaders have said they explore a possibility of new talks. "We are in a process of exploration for an agenda that can lead to a definitive negotiation of the crisis", he said.

An opposition MP said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was seeking to broaden the worldwide mediation in the talks.

No timetable was released for the proposed discussions.

The opposition walked out of the last negotiations, brokered by the Vatican a year ago, accusing the government of not fulfilling pledges made during the talks. Dialogue between the two sides stalled after the MUD presented the government with a similar set of demands, and later accused the Maduro administration of failing to keep to agreements.

Mr Maduro has repeatedly urged the opposition to resume talks, but anti-government leaders have refused. The sign of April-July period was the mass anti-government protests, more than 120 people died in protest-related violence during that time.

The national government has accused the MUD of trying to oust Venezuela's elected president by force.

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