Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has indicated he is ready to restart halted talks with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, according to state media.
Negotiations between the rivals have been at a standstill since August 2019. Guaidó is recognized by the United States and several other nations as Venezuela’s leader. The EU’s position is less clearcut.
“I am ready to meet with all the opposition to see what comes out of it,” Maduro said on public television late Wednesday (12 May).
“Now Guaidó wants to sit down with me,” he said, adding he would agree to a meeting with the help of the European Union and Norwegian government.
Norway has taken on the role as mediator between the government and the opposition as Venezuela faces a political and economic crisis. Maduro’s government left the talks in 2019.
The president’s latest comments came after Guaidó proposed an agreement that would see general elections held in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions against his government.
Maduro, whose 2018 reelection was deemed fraudulent by the White House, is subject to Western sanctions and has been labeled a dictator over alleged voter fraud and other abuses.
Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s leader in 2019, rooting his legitimacy in his role as speaker of the opposition-led National Assembly. His claim has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the United States.
Control of the legislative body has since been won by Maduro’s forces in December 2020 elections boycotted by the opposition and internationally considered rigged.