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Third round of Venezuela talks to start as soon as next week

The uprising has not managed to turn the military, which has continued to prop up Maduro, who is also supported by China, Russia and Cuba. But unbridled inflation, rampant shortages and crumbling infrastructure make daily life miserable for the masses.

By: Bloomberg | Published: June 30, 2019 8:47:35 am
Third round of Venezuela talks to start as soon as next week Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president awaits for Michelle Bachelet, high commissioner for human rights at the United Nations, for a meeting in Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday. (Bloomberg)

A third round of negotiations will be held between representatives of the two men struggling for the leadership of Venezuela, a once-wealthy oil state that has degraded into poverty, starvation and now deep political stalemate.

The new round of talks was confirmed by people familiar with the earlier conversations — a tentative effort to clear a path toward an end to the crisis.

Despite little initial progress, the next round of exploratory talks may take place as soon as next week. Details are being hammered out, including the most suitable location. The talks could take place in Barbados or Oslo, Norway, the people said.

The Associated Press first reported earlier the talks will probably resume on Barbados.

In January, Juan Guaido, the speaker of the National Assembly, was declared interim president, as opponents accused the incumbent Nicolas Maduro of stealing last year’s elections. Guaido’s demonstrations captured the attention of the region and the world: About 50 nations including the US recognized Guaido as the leader of the country.

The uprising has not managed to turn the military, which has continued to prop up Maduro, who is also supported by China, Russia and Cuba. But unbridled inflation, rampant shortages and crumbling infrastructure make daily life miserable for the masses.

On Thursday, Maduro said on state television that the early talks between the parties will continue. “The dialog with the Norwegians is going forward,” he said. “I want dialog, understanding and accords.”

While Guaido’s envoys will again push for new elections in those talks, there are divisions within the opposition on whether Maduro can still be in power for a vote to take place, according to diplomats and lawmakers who spoke anonymously because of the nature of the negotiations.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry and Venezuela’s Information Ministry weren’t immediately available to comment on the potential meeting. A press official for Guaido declined to comment. The first round of talks in Oslo started in mid-May.

In a press briefing from the State Department in Washington on Tuesday, Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, said that while a negotiated solution would “in many ways be the best solution,” the recent detention of opposition officials showed there was little proof that Maduro was serious about his intentions.

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