July 21, 2019
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Venezuelan government says talks with opposition concluded successfully

Caracas, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan government announced Wednesday that its talks with the opposition – which were held in the Caribbean island of Barbados early this week and mediated by Norway – had concluded successfully, though it did not provide further details.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the discussions in Barbados had ended and served as a space for the "settlement of disputes through constitutional and peaceful channels."

He added that the meetings were "successful" and thanked Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley for her hospitality.

So far, no other leader has offered any details about these talks between the government of President Nicolas Maduro and the speaker of the National Assembly, opposition leader Juan Guaido, held discreetly this week.

Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello had earlier said on his weekly television program that no fresh presidential elections – as demanded by the opposition – would be announced as a result of these talks, since Maduro only began his second six-year term in January.

Guaido said Tuesday that “the conditions exist” to find a way out of the national crisis, following a private meeting with the European Union's mediator, Enrique Iglesias.

Prior to the Barbados dialogue, Guaido also asked one and all "not to commit the mistake of seeing a single mechanism as the solution," and for that reason insisted on maintaining both internal and foreign pressure on the party in power.

"We now have the conditions to leave the crisis behind... Of course there has been progress, we have created the opportunities," the opposition leader told reporters after his private meeting with Iglesias, who was sent by the EU to Caracas in an attempt to broker peace in the South American country.

Guaido said the opposition's agenda "in any kind of mediation, as in the case of the International Contact Group," is based on ending what they term as the "usurped" presidency, installing a transition government and calling the Venezuelan people to "free" elections monitored by international observers.

Venezuela has been witnessing extreme political tensions since January, when Maduro was sworn in for another six-year term after winning elections that were described as fraudulent by the opposition. In response, Guaido proclaimed himself the interim president, although he lacks control over the administration or armed forces.

Guaido has the backing of more than 50 governments, led by the United States, which has repeatedly asked Maduro to call free elections and abandon power.

hp/sc/uw/dl

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