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Venezuelan Government, Opposition Meet for Reconciliation Talks – Top Diplomat

© AP Photo / Leonardo FernandezOpposition lawmakers participate in a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela
Opposition lawmakers participate in a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela - Sputnik International
BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Venezuelan officials and opposition politicians had a fresh round of national reconciliation talks and agreed to set up separate panels for detailed discussions, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Monday.

"The National Round Table continues to make progress by installing 8 essential technical tables that must generate, within a few days, specific and partial agreements for peace and coexistence in Venezuela", the ministry quoted him as saying.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the panels would be given 20 days to come up with initiatives on elections and proportional representation, territorial integrity, manufacturing under adverse effects of US sanctions, social services, and political parties.

Since May, the Venezuelan government and opposition had been engaged in official negotiations mediated by the Norwegian government. In August, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stopped negotiations with the opposition in protest of Washington's freeze of all assets held by the Venezuelan government in the United States.

Earlier in September, the Venezuelan authorities announced the launch of the dialogue with a number of small opposition political parties. The participants of the dialogue include the Movement for Socialism party, Progressive Advance, and others. According to the Venezuelan state television, some agreements have already been achieved, like the return of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela to the country's parliament, the release of prisoners, denouncement of the US sanctions, changes in the electoral process.

Venezuela has faced a political crisis that intensified in January when the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido disputed actual President Nicolas Maduro's re-election and declared himself interim president.

Maduro has called Guaido a US puppet and accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup to force a change of government in Venezuela and claim the country’s resources. While Washington and its allies have recognized Guaido as president of Venezuela, Russia, China, and numerous other countries have said they recognize constitutionally-elected Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.

Meanwhile, Guaido has announced he would send his delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. Guaido did not say, however, if he would go to New York which will host the assembly’s high-level general debate from 24-30 September. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would not meet with him.

Maduro said he would send his deputy, Delcy Rodriguez, to the assembly. She will address the gathering on Thursday.

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