Venezuelan opposition, Norway urge Maduro government to resume talks

Photo: Luis Cortes – Reuters

 

The chair of the Venezuelan opposition’s negotiating team at talks with the government urged President Nicolás Maduro’s administration on Sunday to resume dialogue as soon as possible, after the government suspended its participation this weekend.

By Reuters

Oct 17, 2021

The government of Maduro, who scoffed at the invitation to resume talks, put the conversations on ice after Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a Venezuelan envoy, was extradited to the United States from Cape Verde on Saturday to face corruption charges.

It was the latest setback at Norwegian-sponsored talks between the two sides, which have yet to make concrete advances toward ending Venezuela’s long social and economic crisis.

A majority of Venezuelans live in poverty, suffering gasoline shortages and frequent power blackouts. Millions have emigrated, seeking work and better living conditions.

“We urge our counterpart to restart as soon as possible the session in México to produce the necessary agreements,” said opposition negotiator Gerardo Blyde, speaking from México City.

Norway echoed that call on Twitter, saying negotiations are the only solution.

“We will keep working for the parties to, as soon as possible, continue their important effort at the negotiating table,” the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.

Socialist party legislator Jorge Rodríguez, who heads the government’s negotiating team, announced the suspension here on Saturday.

The Venezuelan government in September named Saab – who was arrested in June 2020 when his plane stopped in Cape Verde to refuel – as a negotiator. His inclusion in the negotiating team was widely seen by Maduro critics as an attempt to delay his extradition.

“The government of the United States knew that by kidnapping Alex Saab they would fatally stab the dialogue and negotiations in México and they acted,” Maduro said on state TV on Sunday evening. “They don’t want dialogue.”

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