September 21, 2021

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(Bloomberg) – Venezuelan opposition members have said they are open to a new round of political talks with Nicolas Maduro’s government ahead of the next local elections, but have warned that no agreement has been reached on the terms of the talks.

After Maduro announced that the government was ready for talks, the two parties appeared to be moving closer to planning similar meetings in Mexico.

“We are ready to go to Mexico and sit on a realistic, objective, truly Venezuelan agenda to reach partial agreements for peace so that all criminal sanctions can be lifted,” Maduro said Thursday afternoon.

The talks, mediated by a delegation from Norway, are aimed at determining the conditions for the election of mayors and governors at the national level scheduled for November and future votes, including the 2024 presidential election. The November vote is seen as a major test as Maduro seeks to regain international recognition and persuade the United States to ease sanctions. Foreign governments, including the United States, have called on Maduro to allow free and fair elections.

George Rodriguez, Maduro’s aide, who is leading the government’s efforts to reach an agreement with the broken opposition, said talks were progressing with all groups, including the group led by Juan Guide.

‘Extensive negotiations’

Opposition leader Leopold Lopez, who left the country last year, said in a statement on Friday that he was “ready to begin a comprehensive negotiation process.” “One of the topics proposed for detailed negotiations is the election schedule.”

Guide, the leader of the opposition National Assembly, is not yet in talks, but he was still open to the idea in a televised interview on Wednesday.

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“We are now ready as a democratic alternative to reach a solution to the conflict and reach an agreement,” he told RCN Television. “Understanding that we are facing a dictatorship, we are going to insist on reaching an agreement, we believe, not that it is not a negotiation, but rather that we reach an agreement that will end the conflict that Venezuela is going through.”

Some members of the opposition have warned that they have not yet received continued assurances from the government, removing the political disqualifications of many qualified candidates, many of whom have been deported.

“Maduro’s words are a good sign, but the talks are not yet clear. I do not think the talks are immediate. I hope the situation can improve,” said Stalin Gonzalez, an ally of former opposition presidential candidate Henrik Gabriels. I think you should always bet on a deal. We need to go to the regions to get more on that negotiating table. “

Until the parties register their candidates in August, a deadline for possible negotiations is unlikely. Meanwhile, the opposition is anticipating signs of a delegation of EU technicians, and has been negotiating for the past two weeks on whether to suspend election monitoring in Venezuela in November.

“If the EU decides to come, this is an acknowledgment that Venezuela can meet the conditions of an international democratic standard,” Roberto Beacon, one of the five departments in the Electoral Council, said in a statement. He said a deal would ultimately depend on “political actors”.

Nota Original: Venezuela’s opposition opens up to new round of political talks

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