CARACAS – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday he had accepted an invitation to resume talks with the country’s opposition from the Dominican Republic and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Maduro said during a cabinet meeting broadcast on state radio and television that he had accepted “this new day of dialogue” proposed by Rodriguez Zapatero and Dominican President Danilo Medina.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Tuesday that discussions with the opposition would begin on Thursday in the Dominican Republic.
The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) denied that a dialogue had been resumed, but confirmed that a delegation would travel to Santo Domingo to meet with Medina on Wednesday.
Maduro thanked Rodriguez Zapatero and the Government of the Dominican Republic for the initiative.
Rodriguez Zapatero met with the Dominican foreign minister, Miguel Vargas, in Santo Domingo on Tuesday and issued a statement saying they were convinced that there was “an opportunity for a process of meeting, mutual recognition and reconciliation” in Venezuela.
Maduro has appointed the mayor of the Libertador de Caracas municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, to represent his government in the talks to attempt to resolve the political stalemate and economic crisis that have crippled Venezuela in recent years.
In July, Maduro led the creation of a new National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in order to rewrite the nation’s constitution and restore order in the oil-rich South American nation.
The opposition denounced the assembly and boycotted the election of its members.