Norway won’t give up on Venezuela

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The parties involved failed to reach any agreement, but Norway’s foreign ministry isn’t giving up efforts to resolve the political, social and economic crisis in Venezuela. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro seemed proud  of having a dialogue with the opposition.

Norway has been receiving representatives for Venezuela’s sitting president and the leader of the country’s opposition here at the foreign ministry, before all involved retreated to a secret location in the Oslo area. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

The three sides had differing accounts of the latest round of talks in Oslo this week. Maduro said he was “proud of the delegation we have in Norway,” and that they’d had a “constructive dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition.”

Representatives for opposition leader Juan Guaido, meanwhile, were more reserved, saying they had “insisted” that negotiations would be useful for Venezuela when there’s a “real” prospect for a solution, while Guaido himself has urged Venezuelans to continue demonstrating on the streets against Maduro’s regime until an agreement is in place. The opposition continues to demand that Maduro resign, that a transitional government be set up and that new “free” elections be held.

Norwegian officials, meanwhile, urged both sides to “show their utmost caution in their comments and statements regarding the process.” The goal, according to the ministry, is “to preserve a process that can lead to results.”

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and her staff chose to stress, in a short statement issued just before a public holiday on Thursday, that both sides had “demonstrated their willingness to move forward in the search for an agreed-upon and constitutional solution for the country” that would include “political, economic and electoral matters.”

Søreide, known for speaking carefully herself, merely repeated Norway’s “recognition of the parties’ efforts” to settle their differences. There was no mention of any scheduled talks in the future.

Both Maduro and Guaido have thanked Norway for hosting negotiations to resolve their conflict. Waiting in the wings is Norway’s traditionally close ally, the US, which has stressed that the only thing to discuss with Maduro is the terms of his resignation.

More than 50 countries, including many of Norway’s other allies, already have recognized opposition leader Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Norway has not formally recognized him, in order to remain impartial as leader of the talks between Maduro and Guaido.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund