The negotiation was suspended a year ago by the president after the extradition to the US of his alleged figurehead, Alex Saab
The delegates of the opposition coalition of Juan Guaidó and the government of Nicolás Maduro will resume talks in Mexico this Saturday, under the mediation of Norway, after more than a year of being suspended. Norway confirmed it this Thursday through the Twitter account ‘NoruegaMexCA’: “We announce that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Unitary Platform of Venezuela have decided to resume the dialogue and negotiation process in Mexico on November 26, provided for Norway. There the parties will sign a partial agreement on social matters.
Half an hour later, Jorge Rodríguez, president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, and representative of the Maduro government in the talks, posted another tweet confirming the return to dialogue, as well as the signing of the Second Partial Agreement for the protection of the Venezuelan people. The social agreement will address social needs and public services such as electricity. It is about recovering Venezuela’s resources frozen abroad to cover health such as hospitals, vaccines and medicines, schools, and the emergency caused by the rains. In his statement, Rodríguez said that Camila Fabri, wife of Alex Saab, will replace him in the official Chavista delegation “while the full reincorporation of our diplomat takes place.” “We are convinced that this social agreement will open the doors to advance the extensive agenda of national dialogue in the fulfillment of all its objectives for the good of our country,” concludes Rodríguez.
Minutes later, the opposition Democratic Unitary Platform described the resumption of the dialogue as “positive”. “From the Democratic Unitary Platform we have always insisted on negotiation as a useful instrument for the construction of solutions that address the complex humanitarian crisis that our country unfortunately suffers.”
Previously, this Wednesday, the unofficial announcement had been made by the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, who, without giving further explanations, anticipated the official pronouncement of the Kingdom of Norway as facilitator of the process on the restart of the Venezuelan dialogue. President Gustavo Petro assured on his Twitter account that the negotiation would take place on November 25 and 26.
The European Union and regional allies such as the Government of Colombia have pressured Maduro to return to this space with the opposition; while the United States has repeatedly said it would reassess its sanctions policy if Nicolás Maduro makes political concessions, starting with Mexico returning to meetings.
In October of last year, Maduro suspended negotiations with the opposition because the United States justice system extradited Colombian businessman Alex Saab, described as the figurehead of the Chavista regime, for money laundering. Since then, various national and international organizations and foreign governments have tried to seat them again at the negotiating table, as the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, did two weeks ago. Indeed, the French president, taking advantage of the climate change summit in Egypt and Maduro’s brief greeting, invited him to attend the Paris Forum for Peace to talk about the Venezuelan dialogue.
At that time, Maduro was delighted by the invitation made by the French president and replied that he would send Jorge Rodríguez, head of the Chavista delegation, to Paris to resume the dialogue. 10 days ago, the opposition representative, Gerardo Blyde, also participated in the Paris Forum, who together with Rodríguez promised to resume talks in Mexico soon without a specific date. What is remarkable about his initiative is that Macron achieved the miracle of unblocking the stalled dialogue. For a year there have been several attempts to unlock it but all have failed.
Maduro and Macron, during the climate summit in Egypt. /
Among the first agreements that are expected to be reached in this round of dialogue is the creation of a humanitarian fund with close to 3,000 million dollars frozen abroad, which will be administered by the United Nations for health projects and the reconstruction of electrical networks in Venezuela, say the agencies.
The blocking stone is that Maduro first demands the lifting of all the sanctions that weigh on his regime, both individual and national. But the US has said that if it does not make merit in the negotiations with the opposition, there will be no suspension of sanctions. The talks will include conditions for Venezuela’s 2024 presidential election and could unlock between $3 billion and $2.7 billion of government funds currently frozen by sanctions, Bloomberg said. The initial plan is for the parties to meet in Mexico every 15 days.
Meanwhile, the Macron government hopes that the Maduro regime will allow the return of the French oil company Total to Venezuela. The US is also preparing the ground for Chevron to boost the production of Venezuelan crude. Chevron Corporation could get US approval to vastly expand its operations in Venezuela as soon as Saturday, November 26, once the Venezuelan government and its opposition resume political talks, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
The EU welcomes the start of talks
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, welcomed this Thursday the agreement between the Government of Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition to resume the negotiation process in Mexico on Saturday, more than a year after the failure from the previous attempt. “Millions of Venezuelans await an agreement that responds to their democratic and socio-economic aspirations,” he indicated on his official Twitter account, where he stressed that this process is “key” to a “peaceful solution” to the crisis in which the country is immersed.
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