Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro once again urged the country’s opposition to engage in dialogue for national reconciliation on Friday.
“I reaffirm my call for a national dialogue for the sake of peace. Next week will bring good news about results of our talks. I keep insisting on setting up a permanent body [to engage] in dialogue for peace,” the Venezuelan leader said on Friday during the national Independence Day celebrations, aired by Venezolana de Television.
“I call for peace and national unity,” he said. “No more conspiracies and anger, no more calls for military intervention, for sanctions and embargoes!”
Venezuela has been going through an acute social-economic crisis in the last several years, accompanied by hyperinflation and currency devaluation. This year the situation has been further complicated by the escalation of the confrontation between the government and the opposition.
The political situation in Venezuela escalated after Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23.
The United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), the Organization of American States and some European countries recognized him as the interim president. Subsequently, Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.
In May, Norway’s capital Oslo hosted at least two rounds of indirect talks between the government and the opposition, mediated by the Norwegian government. Guaido noted the positive role of those talks, but said they had eventually ended up in a deadlock.
In an interview with the France-24 TV channel, Guaido said that he was ready to continue dialogue with the Maduro government to find a political solution to the crisis, but added that protests and diplomatic pressure must continue.