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Maduro to accept talks with Venezuela opposition

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(FILES) This file photo taken on July 21, 2016 shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro(R) speaking next to former president of Spanish government Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (L) and former president of Dominican Republic Leonel Fernandez (C), at the end of a metting in the Presidential Palace in Caracas. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on September 12, 2017 he was prepared to meet the opposition for talks brokered by the Dominican Republic and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday he was prepared to meet the opposition for talks brokered by the Dominican Republic and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero.

“Zapatero and President (Danilo) Medina know very well that I have been a promoter of this dialogue and I accept this new day of dialogue,” the president said during a cabinet meeting broadcast on television.

The opposition announced in turn that it would hold a meeting on Wednesday with the Dominican president.

“It has been decided to send a delegation to meet with President Medina to present the objectives of the national democratic struggle,” the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable said in a statement.

Venezuela’s deep economic and political crisis has caused food and medicine shortages, deadly unrest and calls for Maduro to quit.

Clashes with security forces at anti-government protests have left some 125 people dead since April.

Earlier, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian raised the possibility of a resumption of talks in the Dominican Republic.

In a statement published after his meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza Montserrat, Le Drian welcomed what he called “good news,” expressing hope the move would “result very quickly in concrete gestures on the ground.”

A month of talks late last year between Maduro’s government and the opposition collapsed in mutual recrimination.


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