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Venezuela's government and opposition to reset talks

June 30, 2019

President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido both signaled in the past days a willingness to return to the negotiating table. The two sides have already met twice in talks hosted by Norway.

President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas
Image: Reuters/Miraflores Palace

Negotiations for a mediated solution to Venezuela's crisis may restart next week, people familiar with the process said on Saturday. President Nicolas Maduro's government and opposition leader Juan Guaido's team have already held two rounds of talks, though both proved unsuccessful in breaking the deadlock.

Norway's government, which has been leading the mediation effort, will likely choose the location for the talks, sources said.

The move to resume talks follows the Venezuelan government's announcement of the deportation of 59 Colombians, who rights groups say had been arbitrarily detained in 2016.

The UN praised the move, just days after Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet visited Caracas.

"It is a positive sign that the government is fulfilling the human rights commitments" made during Bachelet's recent visit. "We look forward to more releases in coming days."

Read more: Venezuelan journalists report on their own survival

Maduro has said that he seeks dialogue with the opposition and that talks are the only way forward for Venezuela. "I want the dialogue to continue, and it is going to continue," he said Thursday.

Guaido echoed the sentiment on Twitter on Friday, saying that he had received support from allies to "begin a new round of consultations with national and international leaders."

But the opposition leader has downplayed the possibility of a quick resolution and has not backed down from his main demand that early presidential elections take place, something that Maduro has fiercely rejected.

Guaido's momentum has stalled since he staged a failed attempt at a military uprising in April. Since January, when he declared himself interim president and led a new wave of protests against the government, most of the armed forces' top command has stood firmly by Maduro.

Venezuela's political stalemate is taking place in the midst of a deep economic crisis that has forced some 10% of its population to flee the country.

The Organization of American States warned in a report on Friday that the number of migrants fleeing the oil-producing country could double to 8 million by the end of 2020.

jcg/bw (AFP, Reuters AP)

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