Venezuela’s president agrees to meet with opposition

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CARACAS, Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Wednesday that he is ready to meet with the opposition.  

The move came after opposition leader Juan Guaido proposed to negotiate an electoral agreement that would include the holding of presidential elections in exchange for the progressive lifting of US sanctions. 

Maduro agreed to sit with the opposition under the mediation of the international community, specifically with the help of the European Union, the EU-led International Contact Group on Venezuela and Norway. 

“Now Guaido wants to sit down with me to talk. Well, I agree, with the help of the European Union, the Contact Group, whenever they want, wherever they want, to meet with all the opposition to see what comes out of there,” Maduro said on national television. 

Earlier Wednesday, an opposition spokesman said that Norway had been facilitating contact between the two sides as a precursor to mediating potential negotiations. 

During his speech, Maduro also argued that Guaido is now seeking dialogue only because he is “isolated, defeated and out of everything.” 

“Nobody consults him on anything, and the course of the country is already set towards big mega-elections this year.” 

He then mentioned that “for a long time,” there has been dialogue between the government and some factions of the opposition.

Guaido argues that besides the scheduling of “free and fair” presidential, parliamentary, regional and municipal elections with international observation and support, Maduro also has to commit to the entry of humanitarian aid and COVID-19 vaccines. 

Guaido is also demanding democratic guarantees for all political actors, such as the release of all political prisoners. 

He said that in exchange for these demands, the international community should offer the progressive lifting of US sanctions on Venezuela.

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