FT: Venezuela Negotiations in Norway End Without Agreement

A meeting between the Venezuelan government and the opposition to resolve the country’s deep political crisis ended without agreement on Wednesday, the opposition said, although negotiators left the door open to further talks, Financial Times reported.

Representatives of the government of Nicolas Maduro met envoys sent by opposition leader Juan Guaidi to Oslo. Unlike a meeting held in Norway’s capital earlier this month, the two sides met face to face, FT adds.

“This meeting ended without agreement,” Guaido’s team said in a statement afterwards. “We thank the government of Norway for its willingness to contribute to a solution to the chaos that our country is suffering.”

The Maduro government did not comment on the outcome of the talks. The Norwegians said earlier in the day that both sides had shown willingness to reach a deal.

Maduro and Guaido have been locked in a power struggle since the start of the year, when the opposition leader declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, arguing that Maduro had usurped power on the basis of bogus elections, FT writes.

Neither side has scored a decisive victory, and their struggle has largely ground to a halt. Maduro controls most state institutions and has the support of the armed forces, while Guaido enjoys the support of the U.S. and most countries in Europe and Latin America.

The stalemate has forced both sides to negotiate, but the talks in Oslo were the clearest sign yet that there could be a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Separately, the EU and some Latin American countries have set up an international contact group to look for ways out of the impasse. The Group of Lima, which includes most major countries in the region, has also put pressure on Maduro to stand down.

Guaido’s team said it was willing to work further with the Norwegians, “just as we have been doing with the Group of Lima and the contact group.”

On Tuesday Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, appointed Enrique Iglesias, a Spanish-Uruguayan economist and former president of the Inter-American Development Bank, as its special adviser for Venezuela. Iglesias, 89, is also a former Uruguayan foreign minister.

The diplomatic push comes amid deep economic, political and social turmoil in Venezuela. During Maduro’s six-year reign, the economy has halved in size, hyperinflation has taken hold and some 3.5m people have fled, escaping shortages of food and medicine, FT added.

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