Venezuela government talking with 'democratic' opposition in Norway

U.S. halts flights to Venezuela, citing security concerns

"We reiterate our willingness to continue supporting the search for a peaceful solution for the county", concluded the statement, which came after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido himself had thanked Norway and other countries on Thursday for trying to broker a settlement between his supporters and the embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza gave the first official confirmation from Caracas of its involvement in what Norway referred to as exploratory discussions in Oslo.

Speaking to reporters in Caracas, Guaido confirmed reports that National Assembly vice president Stalin Gonzalez and former lawmaker Gerardo Blyde represented the opposition in Norway.

Delegations from the government and opposition camps were said to have received separate invitations from a group of Norwegian mediators.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not address the talks directly in televised remarks on Wednesday.

The protesters consider Nicolás Maduro to be the legitimate Venezuelan president. Maduro has accused Guaido of being a United States puppet and collaborating with Washington to take power in Caracas in order to control the country's oil resources.

The activists, members of the Embassy Protection Collective, occupied the premises with permission of Venezuelan diplomats who were ordered to leave the country by the Trump administration.

He said that parties in Norway were attempting to mediate the crisis, but he said no agreements have been reached and no face-to-face talks with government representatives were being held.

Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize and the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords, has a long tradition of playing the role of facilitator in peace processes around the world, including in Colombia between government and FARC leftist rebels in 2016.

Chrystia Freeland's office says the objective of the visit is "to discuss the deteriorating situation" in Cuba's ally Venezuela, as well as tightened US sanctions on Cuba. But many sectors of the opposition remain skeptical, arguing that Maduro has in the past used dialogue as a stalling tactic to maintain his grip on power as living standards steadily declined in the oil-rich nation.

"This determination is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations", Homeland Security said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and other legislators on Wednesday gave speeches denouncing the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who has accused them of conspiring with the United States to stage a coup.

The myriad diplomatic efforts reflect a recognition in Venezuela that neither side has been able to prevail in the struggle for power, leaving the country in a state of political paralysis after years of hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.



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