Gov't and Opposition in Venezuela Resume Peaceful Dialogue

Gov't and Opposition in Venezuela Resume Peaceful Dialogue

Representatives of Venezuela's government have arrived in the Dominican Republic for discussions about restarting talks with the opposition on resolving the South American nation's economic and political turmoil.

"We are very close to resolving numerous points on the agenda", he told reporters in the capital of the Caribbean state.

The surprise negotiations were announced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday, when the head of state confirmed that he had accepted an invitation from former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas to begin renewed dialogue efforts.

Nonetheless, Dominican President Danilo Medina was more cautious in his assessment of the situation following Wednesday's meeting.

Rodriguez was accompanied his sister Delcy Rodriguez, who chairs the all-powerful Constituent Assembly, and the veteran Venezuelan diplomat Roy Chaderton.

Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, is representing the opposition.

Rodriguez did not say if he expected to have a face-to-face meeting with the opposition delegation.

They are demanding the government respect institutions like the opposition-controlled congress, free political prisoners and allow humanitarian aid to flow into a country with crippling food and medical shortages.

Previously, Maduro read a statement signed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, in which he expresses the full support of the global entity to the proposal of the Dominican Republic and former head of the Spanish government.

"Antonio Guterres is trying to form a group of countries that will mediate and guarantee a dialogue and compliance with the results", Henry Ramos Allup told reporters in Caracas.

Attempted talks facilitated by the Vatican, Zapatero and other leading worldwide political figures turned sour late a year ago without reaching any kind of consensus.

Venezuela's opposition has made clear that Maduro's government must first adhere to preconditions before it would join talks. Several countries, including Germany and France, have refused to accept the pro-government body as a legitimate part of the government.

However, Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis warned that action by the Maduro government was needed, following talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza in Madrid.

"We are men and women of their word, I believe in the word, in dialogue, politics as the exercise of truth, sharing, debate of ideas and freedom of expression", he said in a joint radio and television address.