: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro takes part in a ceremony at a Navy base in Catia La Mar, Venezuela on Tuesday. Reuters
Representatives of Venezuela’s regime and the opposition are holding “peace negotiations” in Oslo this week, Norwegian media reported on Thursday.
Venezuela has been in political turmoil since assembly speaker Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in January in a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro’s authority.
The NRK radio and television network, quoting anonymous sources, said it is the second time that peace talks have been held in the Norwegian capital between Maduro’s regime and representatives of Guaido.
It said negotiations have also taken place in Cuba.
The latest talks have taken place at a secret location for “several days” and are expected to conclude on Thursday, NRK said.
Norway’s foreign ministry was not immediately available to comment on the report.
Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and the governor of Miranda province Hector Rodriguez represented Maduro’s government, NRK said.
The opposition is represented by former deputy Gerardo Blyde, former minister Fernando Martinez Mottola and the vice president of the National Assembly Stalin Gonzales.
In Caracas, Maduro said Jorge Rodriguez “is overseas, on a very important mission.”
Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature, is locked in a bitter power struggle with Maduro, who has presided over a spiralling political and economic crisis in Venezuela since taking over from late leftist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013.
Maduro was re-elected to a second term in May 2018, in a vote boycotted by the opposition and rejected by much of the international community.
Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan.23, calling Maduro’s re-election illegitimate. The opposition leader has since been recognised by more than 50 countries, led by the United States.
Norway however has merely called for new free elections in Venezuela, a position seen as illustrating a willingness to act as a mediator between the two sides.
At the end of January, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said her country was “ready to contribute if and when the parties so wish.”
The tense conversation came after Russia sent two planes reportedly carrying around 100 soldiers and 35 tons of military equipment to Venezuela's main airport outside Caracas on Saturday.
The US special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will meet with Chinese, Russian and European Union diplomats on Afghanistan on Thursday as he tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s longest war.
A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.
Terming exit polls in the past as “inconsistent” and “incorrect”, the opposition parties on Monday played down the predictions for the Lok Sabha elections, claiming that the actual results to be announced on May 23 would be different.
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