News ID: 255535
Published: 0151 GMT July 09, 2019

Maduro 'optimistic' after opposition talks resume in Barbados

Maduro 'optimistic' after opposition talks resume in Barbados
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) and Juan Guaido

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Monday he was "optimistic" after dialogue between his government and the opposition resumed in Barbados.

The South American country was plunged into political turmoil in January when National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to the government, AFP reported.

Delegations from both sides arrived in Barbados Monday morning to revive discussions, after a previous round in Norway petered out.

"I am very optimistic... Today they had a five-hour session, and I think that step by step, with strategic patience, we can find a path to peace," Maduro said in a broadcast on the state television channel VTV.

Without giving details, he said that a six-point agenda was being discussed with "the whole country in mind."

"If you work with goodwill and there is no American interventionism, I am sure that we will reach an agreement," said Maduro, who blames the United States for fanning the crisis. The opposition leader is recognized by the United States and some other countries, but has been unable to dislodge Venezuela's president.

Maduro has defended his government's legitimacy amid growing opposition saying the Venezuelan people had given "legitimacy" to his administration "with their vote".

The Barbados talks are the third round since the Oslo talks in May, although Guaido had originally said last Tuesday there were no plans to reopen talks with Maduro following the death of an officer in custody over an alleged coup plot.

Guaido said Sunday he wants the talks to lead them towards Maduro's departure from the presidency he has held since 2013 to a transitional government, and then "free elections with international observers".

Oil-rich Venezuela has been ravaged by five years of recession marked by shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities, and the economic woes have been exacerbated by the political crisis.

Maduro says a US-directed “economic war” is trying to force him from power.

Delegations representing the Venezuelan rivals met face-to-face in Oslo for the first time in late May, in a process begun two weeks earlier under Norwegian auspices to find a solution to the nation's multiple crises.

Maduro has repeatedly said that the dialogue will continue with the opposition "for peace in Venezuela."


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