Venezuela Rivals Hold Talks on Political Crisis

Caracas, – The Venezuelan government and opposition parties are meeting for the first time this year to try to resolve the country’s deep political crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro is attending the talks, which are being supervised by a Vatican envoy and other mediators. The meeting, at a museum in the west of the capital, Caracas, follows a general strike and huge opposition rallies.

The opposition is demanding a referendum be allowed to take place on whether Maduro should step down. For its part, the government wants the opposition to renounce violence and reject right-wing economic policies.

Maduro shook hands with the five opposition leaders who including Jesus Torrealba, the leader of the Democratic Unity coalition. “There is no alternative to dialogue and meeting in search of the nation’s common interests,” Maduro said as he arrived.

Vatican envoy Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli urged both sides to engage in serious dialogue to defuse the mounting political crisis. Former political leaders from Spain, Panama and the Dominican Republic are also helping to mediate.

Source: Qatar News Agency