The Venezuelan government and opposition have been urged by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to return to the negotiating table to seek a way out of the South American country's protracted crisis, AFP reported on Wednesday, September 11th.
In response to new US sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro’s government, talks with the opposition had subsequently been called off last month, thereby prolonging a deadlock with Maduro’s rival, self-declared acting President Juan Guaido.
During her second stop on a three-country Latin American tour focused largely on Venezuela, Mogherini said she was "encouraged" in May when the conflicting sides began holding talks mediated by Norway. She called on them to return to the table soon, adding that talking would always be better than fighting.
She also explained that there was no interest for anyone in exacerbating divisions or economic problems for the country.
According to Mogherini, any deal would have to include a democratic outcome, with new presidential elections, international observers, and rights for everybody to take part in the democratic definition of the future of the country.
Maduro has presided over a disastrous political and economic crisis in Venezuela since taking over from late leftist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013. He had been re-elected to a second term last year, in a vote boycotted by the opposition and rejected by much of the international community.
Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-controlled legislature, tried to seize power in January, declaring himself acting president and saying Maduro's re-election was illegitimate. Nonetheless, despite the backing of more than 50 countries, including the United States, he has not managed to wrest control from Maduro.
An apparent coup attempt in April fizzled, leaving the crisis in a prolonged stalemate. Meanwhile, Mogherini will step down on November 1st after five years as the European Union's top diplomat.
A keen interest in finding a way out of the Venezuelan crisis has been growing in the mind of her successor, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, according to AFP.