It has been reported that the Venzuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has stated that the Maduro government is open to dialogue with the US administration on the basis of mutual respect.
“The moment is right for diplomacy. The hour is right for diplomacy. We are ready to return to diplomacy and to sitting at the negotiating table and respecting each other … The Venezuelan government is willing to establish a dialogue mechanism with the US administration on the basis of mutual respect,” Arreaza said in a statement on Friday, as quoted by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.
The statement further argued that the anti-Venezuelan strategies of US President Donald Trump’s administration had failed.
The condition in Venezuela has been tense since January when opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself an interim president. Washington and its allies endorsed Guaido and called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Moreover, the United States seized billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuelan oil assets.
Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet and take over Venezuela’s natural resources. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey, South Africa and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.
Despite the willingness for open dialogue by the Maduro government, the United States has ruled out holding any negotiations, and instead remains focussed on its current strategies which do not recognise the Maduro government as the legitimate government in Venezuela.
A senior State Department official stated in the Miami Herald, that negotiations are not possible with the Maduro Government. As such, the US government has officially closed the door on any diplomatic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
The US, along with 50 other countries recognize the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as Venezuelan interim president.
Simultaneously, Guaido has called for US military support.
Despite this, the Opposition have not entirely closed the door to talks with the Maduro Government
Talks in Norway this week with representatives of Venezuela’s government and the opposition sought to “build a peaceful agenda” for the crisis-stricken South American country.
Norway’s foreign ministry, which has a tradition of conflict mediation, said that the talks were in an “exploratory phase”.
These talks signal a fresh approach to ending months of tension that escalated after a failed uprising last month led by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who called on the military to overthrow Maduro.
The Oslo talks, are the first real sign that the Maduro government and Guaido are willing to engage. However, Guaidó has told reporters the talks did not yet amount to “negotiations” but a form of “mediation.”
Despite these “peace talks” Guaidó has stated that he had instructed his U.S. envoy to open relations with the U.S. military and set a meeting with the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in Latin America, for next week, raising fresh fears of American military involvement in the country.
The failure of the April 30 uprising revealed that the opposition is not strong enough to break the paralysis in Venezuela by force. This likely motivated the opposition to accept talks with officials representing Maduro after months of refusing to pursue them on the grounds that the embattled president would use them to play for time.
The regime and opposition remain at odds on fundamental issues.
Guaidó has made Maduro’s resignation a red line and reiterated the opposition’s demands for regime change. He stated that they won’t accept any negotiation that doesn’t lead to three things: the end of the usurpation, a transition government and free elections.”
The opposition’s priority will be to move toward the establishment of a new electoral authority and a timeline for elections. However the government has insisted that no new elections will be called before Maduro’s mandate ends in 2025.