Venezuelan government, opposition to continue talks on Saturday

VENEZUELA DIALOGUE | 13 de enero de 2018

Venezuelan government, opposition to continue talks on Saturday 

Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Culture, Jorge Rodriguez (C) speaks with the president of the ruling National Constituent Assembly (ANC) Delcy Rodriguez (R) and Venezuelan Minister of Education, Elias Jaua (L) at the end of the meeting between representatives of the Venezuelan government and the opposition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jan. 12, 2018. EPA-EFE/ORLANDO BARRIA

Santo Domingo, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information said Friday they are very close to reaching a definitive agreement to end a political stalemate in the country.

Jorge Rodriguez, the chief government negotiator in the ongoing third round of talks that began Thursday with the country's opposition in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, said Friday's talks were "intense and productive."

"We have made extremely important progress (...) for reaching a definitive agreement on peaceful and democratic coexistence in Venezuela," said Rodriguez after nearly 12 hours of discussions at the Dominican Republic Foreign Ministry, where the talks are being held.

Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas said the Venezuelan government and the opposition will resume talks on Saturday to find a peaceful, stable and democratic solution to Venezuela's political crisis.

Friday's closed door talk was attended by Dominican President Danilo Medina and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Representatives from Chile and Mexico - invited by the opposition - and from Bolivia, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - invited by the Nicolas Maduro-led government also participated in the talks.

The agenda of the talks include reaching electoral guarantees before the 2018 presidential elections, the opening of a humanitarian channel to allow the entry of medicines and food supplies, freeing political prisoners, and the restoration of constitutional powers of the opposition-dominated National Assembly legislature.

The ruling party, led by Maduro, demands the lifting of economic sanctions that have been imposed on some of its officials and the recognition of the National Constituent Assembly, a plenipotentiary branch of government made up of ruling party members only and not recognized by numerous governments.

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