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Venezuela to hold talks with US – Maduro

The president of the South American nation has agreed to Washington’s proposal to re-start negotiations

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to resume talks with the United States, which reimposed sanctions on Venezuela’s energy industry in April. The announcement comes less than a month before the South American country heads to the polls for a presidential election, in which Maduro is running for a third consecutive term.

Speaking in a televised address on Monday, the incumbent said that Washington had reached out to Caracas with a proposal to re-establish dialogue.

”After thinking about it for two months, I have accepted, and next Wednesday, talks will restart with the United States government to comply with the agreements signed in Qatar and to reestablish the terms of the urgent dialogue,” Maduro said, as quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

Venezuelan official negotiator Jorge Rodriguez will travel for the talks, the President added, without detailing the specific topics to be discussed or where the latest round of dialogue will take place.

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The Qatar-brokered accord Maduro referred to was reached by Venezuela and the US after months of negotiations in September 2023 and secured a prisoner exchange deal between the two countries.

The US also had suspended some energy sanctions on Caracas after Maduro’s government and the opposition agreed in Barbados in October to hold a free and fair election in 2024 monitored by international observers.

The sanctions however were slapped back in place in April after the US claimed that Maduro had failed to adhere to democratic principles. Maduro’s government in turn accused Washington of violating the Qatar accord.

”We’re going to debate and find new agreements so that everything is respected, (especially) what we signed in Qatar,” Maduro said, as quoted by AFP.

The vote scheduled for July 28 will elect a president for a six-year term. Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia is representing the main opposition political alliance, the Unitary Platform. Other leading opposition candidates were disqualified during their campaign or in previous elections.

Caracas has been under US sanctions for over 15 years. Washington refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro as the country’s president following the 2018 election, and instead declared the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, to be the interim leader of the country.

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All Venezuelan government assets were frozen in the US and any dealings with US citizens and companies were barred.

Maduro has previously called for a “new era” of US-Venezuela relations “based on respect and collaboration.” Venezuela demands the permanent lifting of all US sanctions, according to the president, who says Caracas has abided by the deal signed in Barbados.

July 02, 2024 at 02:56PM

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