Venezuela government, opposition arrange fresh talks
The Venezuelan government and opposition are set to hold a new round of talks in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, aiming to address deep political differences.
Dominican President Danilo Medina made the announcement at a press conference on Saturday, saying that the two sides would hold the talks in the capital, Santo Domingo, on January 18.
“Although we have made extremely important advances, we still have pending matters that must be discussed,” Medina said, after 10 hours of meetings between Venezuelan government representatives and opposition leaders.
Jorge Rodriguez, the main Venezuelan government delegate, said there was consensus on the “majority of the points,” adding that, “We remain at the negotiating table… we have some points that I am sure will be resolved.”
Julio Borges, the president of the country’s National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition, also highlighted the agreement, but said, “These days and hours of intense work are not enough to achieve what our people, the Venezuelan people, need to have an avenue, a path of hope.”
The latest round of meetings, held on January 11, came after the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened to ban some opposition parties from elections amid opposition threats to resume street protests.
Unrest has already left 125 people dead from both the government and opposition camps in Venezuela. Violence erupted in Venezuela last year amid persistent political bickering and an acute economic downturn.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, loyal to Maduro, has ordered the three main opposition parties to re-register with the National Electoral Council (CNE) in order to participate in the presidential election next year. That came after the parties boycotted mayoral polls last month, claiming that they lacked transparency. The government also demands that the opposition recognize the Constituent Assembly.