Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has announced the resumption of talks with the opposition, which were halted five months ago after the extradition of a presidential ally.
In October, Maduro suspended the negotiations in retaliation for the extradition to the United States by Cape Verde of Alex Saab — a Colombian national accused of acting as a money launderer for the Venezuelan socialist leader.
“The dialogue in Mexico received a tremendous blow as you know, but if we are asking for dialogue for the world we must set an example in the country,” Maduro said Monday in an address broadcast on state television.
The government had conditioned its return to the table on Saab’s release.
Maduro called for a “more inclusive, more comprehensive, broader dialogue… for the meeting of all sectors, for the peace of Venezuela, for the recovery of Venezuela.”
The announcement comes after Maduro’s weekend meeting with a US government delegation that included a discussion of energy supplies, as Washington seeks to reduce its imports of Russian oil.
Venezuela’s opposition also said it held a “sustained meeting” with the US delegation.
The United States is one of almost 60 countries to have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president, having rejected Maduro’s 2018 re-election in a poll widely viewed as fraudulent.
Washington signalled last month it would be willing to review its sanctions policy toward Venezuela if talks between Maduro’s government and the opposition moved forward.
On Monday, Maduro also called for peace negotiations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to avoid a “third world war.”
“We are ringing the warning bell… to the whole world,” said Maduro, who called for the “humanitarian corridors” in Ukraine to be respected.
“We are gravely concerned about the possibility of a war in Europe and an extension… of this armed confrontation, it seems to fester, a public media campaign of hatred and a set of economic measures aimed at aggravating the conditions and extending the scenario of war,” added Maduro.
Last week, Maduro was among the few international figures to assure Russian President Vladimir Putin of his “strong support,” as he condemned “destabilizing actions of the United States and NATO.”