Both sides eager to reach solution in Venezuela: Norway

Oslo (AFP) –


Norway said Wednesday that representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido were keen to move towards a negotiated solution of the country's crisis.

For the second time in weeks, delegations from both camps met in Norway this week for talks aimed at finding a solution to the political crisis that has been haunting the country for months.

"The parties have demonstrated their willingness to move forward in the search for an agreed-upon and constitutional solution for the country, which includes political, economic and electoral matters," the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement after the talks concluded.

"In order to preserve a process that can lead to results, the parties are requested to show their utmost caution in their comments and statements regarding the process," it added.

No details about the exact contents of the discussions were revealed.

Guaido, a member of the centre-right opposition and President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, declared himself president of the country in late January, and is recognised as such by some 50 countries, including the United States.

The declaration followed presidential elections in May 2018, which kept socialist leader Nicolas Maduro in power but which the opposition described as fraudulent.

The political crisis is exacerbated by the oil-rich country's worst economic crisis in recent history, with inflation expected to reach 10,000,000 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, and increasing shortages and power outages.

Norwegian mediation efforts have been unpopular among the opposition, with Guaido initially stating that any dialogue should lead to Maduro stepping down and new elections.

As the host country of the Nobel Peace Price and the place where Israeli-Palestinian Oslo agreements were negotiated, Norway has a tradition of being a "facilitator" in peace processes, including the accord struck between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in 2016.