: 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.”
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said on Monday he was “optimistic” after dialogue between his government and the opposition resumed in Barbados.
Lionel Ortega had worked as an engineer for nearly 40 years for the Venezuelan state oil company when he walked off the job last October, defying authorities who demanded he stay and oversee repairs to the crumbling infrastructure that is choking off the lifeblood of the country’s beleaguered government.
The United States for now has ruled out holding any negotiations with Nicolas Maduro and instead is focused on how to orchestrate a “dignified exit” for the Venezuelan leader after an opposition uprising and a series of sanctions failed to oust him from power.
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