Maduro resumes dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition

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Negotiations were suspended by the president a year ago after the extradition to the US of his alleged figurehead, Alex Saab

The deputies of the opposition coalition of Juan Guaidó and the government of Nicolás Maduro resumed talks in Mexico this Saturday, mediated by Norway, after being suspended for more than a year. Norway confirmed it this Thursday via the Twitter account ‘NoruegaMexCA’: “We announce that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Unitary Platform of Venezuela have decided to resume the dialogue and negotiation process in Mexico on November 26, foreseen for Norway, where the parties sign a partial agreement on social affairs.

Half an hour later, Jorge Rodríguez, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela and representative of the Maduro government in the talks, posted another tweet confirming the return to dialogue, as well as the signing of the second partial agreement for the protection of the Venezuelan people. The social agreement will address social needs and public services such as electricity. It is about recovering Venezuela’s funds frozen abroad to cover health care, such as hospitals, vaccines and medicines, schools and the emergency caused by the rains. In his statement, Rodríguez said Camila Fabri, Alex Saab’s wife, will replace him in the official Chavista delegation “while the full reintegration of our diplomat takes place.” “We are confident that this social agreement will open the doors to advance the comprehensive agenda of the National Dialogue in the achievement of all its objectives for the good of our country,” concludes Rodríguez.

Minutes later, the opposition’s Democratic Unitary Platform described the resumption of dialogue as “positive”. “From the Democratic Unitary Platform, we have always insisted on negotiation as a useful tool for finding solutions to the complex humanitarian crisis that our country is unfortunately experiencing.”

Earlier this Wednesday, the unofficial announcement was made by the President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, who, without further explanation, anticipated the official declaration of the Kingdom of Norway as facilitator of the process of resuming Venezuelan dialogue. President Gustavo Petro assured on his Twitter account that the negotiations would take place on November 25 and 26.

The European Union and regional allies such as the government of Colombia have been pressuring Maduro to return to this space along with the opposition; while the United States has repeatedly said it would reassess its sanctions policy if Nicolás Maduro makes political concessions, starting with Mexico returning to meetings.

In October last year, Maduro suspended negotiations with the opposition because the US justice system had extradited Colombian businessman Alex Saab, described as the figurehead of the Chavista regime, for money laundering. Since then, various national and international organizations and foreign governments have tried to bring them back to the negotiating table, as the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, did two weeks ago. Indeed, the French president took advantage of the climate summit in Egypt and Maduro’s brief greeting and invited him to attend the Forum for Peace in Paris to discuss the Venezuelan dialogue.

At the time, Maduro was delighted with the French president’s invitation and replied that he would send Jorge Rodríguez, head of the Chavista delegation, to Paris to resume dialogue. 10 days ago, the opposition representative, Gerardo Blyde, also participated in the Paris Forum, pledging along with Rodríguez to resume talks in Mexico soon without a specific date. The remarkable thing about his initiative is that Macron has achieved the miracle of unblocking the stalled dialogue. For a year there have been several attempts to unlock it, but all of them have failed.

One of the first agreements expected to be reached in this round of dialogue is the creation of a humanitarian fund with nearly $3,000 million frozen abroad, to be administered by the United Nations for health projects and the reconstruction of power grids in Venezuela. say the authorities.

The block is that Maduro first demands the lifting of all sanctions that weigh on his regime, both individually and nationally. But the US has said that if it does not make a profit in negotiations with the opposition, there will be no suspension of sanctions. The talks will include terms for Venezuela’s 2024 presidential election and could release between $3 billion and $2.7 billion in government funds currently frozen by sanctions, Bloomberg said. The original plan is for the parties to meet in Mexico every 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Macron government hopes that the Maduro regime will allow the French oil company Total to return to Venezuela. The US is also paving the way for Chevron to boost Venezuelan crude production. Chevron Corporation could receive US approval to massively expand its operations in Venezuela starting Saturday, Nov. 26, once the Venezuelan government and its opposition resume political talks, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell this Thursday welcomed the agreement between the government of Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition to resume the negotiating process in Mexico on Saturday, more than a year after the failure of the previous attempt. “Millions of Venezuelans are waiting for an agreement that meets their democratic and socio-economic aspirations,” he said on his official Twitter account, stressing that this process is the “key” for a “peaceful solution” to the crisis in which the land is submerged.

Source: La Verdad

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