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Venezuela peace talks end without agreement

Published:Saturday | June 1, 2019 | 10:01 AM
President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido

Talks between government and opposition representatives aimed at resolving the political crisis in Venezuela have ended without an agreement.

The talks in Norway were the first between the two sides since National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim leader in January, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro's re-election was fraudulent.

Despite the lack of progress both sides said they wanted to continue the talks.

No date has been set for another round of talks.

A government delegation consisting of Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda State Governor Hector Rodriguez met an opposition delegation made up of lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez, former minister Fernando Martinez Mottola and former lawmaker Gerardo Blyde.

The talks were held in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

The Norwegian foreign ministry, in a statement released after the meeting, urged the parties "to show the utmost caution in their comments and statements regarding the process" in order to "preserve a process that can lead to results.”

Little is therefore known about what was discussed.

However, both Guaido and President Maduro have confirmed that the meeting ended "without agreement."

The opposition argues that Maduro is not the legitimate president of Venezuela because his re-election in 2018 was "neither free nor fair.”

They are calling for a transition government to take over until fresh elections can be held.

They are also demanding that the electoral council, which is largely controlled by the government, be reformed to guarantee its independence.

President Maduro said on Wednesday that he wanted "peace, dialogue, harmony and understanding."

Earlier this month, Maduro suggested bringing forward parliamentary elections, but this was dismissed by Guaido as "a farce."

Guaido has called on Venezuelans to take to the streets in new anti-government demonstrations to increase the pressure on Maduro.

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