Maduro to Request U.S. Sanction Talks in Opposition Negotiation
(Bloomberg) -- President Nicolas Maduro said negotiations with the opposition to break a five-year political impasse in Venezuela “got off to a good start,” and that he will also propose direct talks with the U.S.
Maduro said discussing sanctions directly with the U.S. government is a pivotal issue he wants addressed in order to advance negotiations with the country’s opposition, which started in Mexico last week.
“The lifting of sanctions is central to us: it’s either that or nothing,” Maduro said, speaking at a press conference.
Maduro’s request is not included in the five-point memorandum of understanding signed last week to end years of political stalemate and help the nation to recover economically, which includes respect for political rights and the Constitution, an electoral timetable and guarantees, and an end to both state violence and sanctions.
Maduro said the Mexico talks over the weekend were “successful” so far. But in line with public events in the past, where he has demanded the normalization of diplomatic ties with the U.S., he said his delegation will request “direct” talks with the Joe Biden administration at the negotiations mediated by Norway, which will resume Sept. 3-6.
Maduro hopes that such face-to-face talks will allow diplomatic representatives of both countries to return to their posts, and that partial agreements can be reached soon before the process ends, which could take months.
So far the White House has been reluctant to engage with the authoritarian leader.
Over the weekend the U.S., Canada and the European Union welcomed the announcement of the memorandum of understanding in a joint statement and said they’re ready “to review sanctions policies if the regime makes meaningful progress” in the talks.
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