Maduro and Venezuelan opposition launch new talks to end deadlock

Maduro and Venezuelan opposition launch new talks to end deadlock

Representatives of the Venezuelan government and opposition parties are expected to sign an agreement that marks the start of months of intense negotiations aimed at ending the five-year political deadlock and addressing the country’s economic collapse.

During three days of meetings in Mexico City starting on Friday, the two sides will sign a memorandum of understanding prepared by Norwegian mediators and the parties, according to five people with direct knowledge of the talks.

According to one of the people who requested anonymity, the memo will set terms for future meetings to discuss topics including exemption from international sanctions, how to manage Venezuela’s frozen assets abroad, access to financial aid, human rights, and the timetable for upcoming elections. . Details are not public.

The two parties are trying to strike a deal before the upcoming November 21 elections, when the seats of mayors and governors across the country will be ready to take over. Opposition parties boycotted several previous ballot papers, arguing that there were no basic electoral guarantees to make them free and fair.

long term agreement

Stalin Gonzalez, a former deputy speaker of the National Assembly who will represent the opposition, said the two sides could return to Mexico later this month to start negotiations, which could take months.

“The regime is not able to solve this situation on its own,” he said of the country’s economic collapse. “We will look for ways to solve this and help people. It has to be a long-term deal.”

Several previous rounds of negotiations ended in failure, including talks in Barbados in 2019, which were also overseen by Norway. Marin Jimenez, a professor of political science in the United States, said this round has a greater chance of success because both sides and foreign governments, including the United States and the European Union, are more open to agreement on issues such as humanitarian aid and human rights. Overseas University. Oxford studies Venezuela.

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President Nicolas Maduro has said he will send his son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, and National Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez to Mexico. The people said that government legislator Francisco Torrealba, Miranda Governor Hector Rodriguez and a delegation from Russia will participate in the talks on behalf of the government.

Government representatives did not respond to requests for comment on the goals of the talks. Maduro called for negotiations to lift all sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union and to recognize the legitimacy of his government.

He said on state television on Thursday that his negotiators would seek “sovereign solutions,” including a timetable for elections.

The people said that in addition to Gonzalez, the opposition will be represented by former deputy and Barrota mayor Gerardo Bled, a representative of each of the major parties, and a team of negotiators from the Netherlands.

In addition, the United States, Canada, Turkey, Germany and Bolivia will pursue the talks but will not take an active role in the negotiations, one of the people said, calling them a group of friendly countries.

Mexico was chosen as the location because it is considered a neutral territory on both sides.

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