Norway Sees Progress in Venezuelan Peace Talks

(VOA) – The Norwegian government said Wednesday progress has been made in negotiations between representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The Foreign Ministry said the two sides “have demonstrated their willingness to move forward” toward a negotiated solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

The second round of talks in recent weeks was held in the capital, Oslo, in an effort to find solutions to the political and economic crises that have gripped the country for months.

The Foreign Ministry did not provide more information about the talks but urged both sides to exercise “utmost caution in their comments” about the negotiating process.

The talks are held amid growing tension between Maduro and Guaido, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly who declared himself president in January with the backing of the United States and about 50 other countries.

The declaration followed the May 2018 presidential elections which Guaido deems fraudulent.

The political crisis has been compounded by Venezuela’s worst economic crisis in recent memory, with food shortages and power outages common occurrences. The International Monetary Fund predicts inflation in the oil-rich country will reach 10 million percent this year.

Guaido agreed to talks in Norway after initially saying any dialogue should result in Maduro’s resignation and new elections.

Norway has a history of playing the role of facilitator in peace negotiations. The Scandinavian country hosted talks that led to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords in the 1990s and a deal reached in 2016 between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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