As the Venezuelan government and the opposition concluded the second day of their renewed round, a breakthrough seems near as talks were extended for at least one more day, resuming on Saturday.
Venezuelan Talks Advance in the Dominican Republic
"We are very close to a definitive agreement for peace and coexistence, and this agreement will deter those who attack the Venezuelan homeland. The agreement will allow us to combat economic aggression, sanctions, and the actions that Venezuela has been subjected to," Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez, who leads the government delegation, told reporters Friday evening during a press conference after 12 hours of talks with representatives of the country’s political opposition.
Rodriguez went on to criticize United States lawmakers over attempts, according to him, to undermine the process of dialogue and "insulting members of the opposition." Opposition Assembly members Julio Borges and Enrique Marquez are representing Venezuela’s opposition in talks ahead of Venezuela’s 2018 presidential elections.
The talks were hosted and directed by the Dominican Republic’s Foreign Minister, Danilo Medina, and accompanied by former Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Opposition parties have requested the inclusion of represteinves from Mexico and Chile, who are also attending the talks.
The delegations are hoping the discussions will help develop Venezuela’s economy and maintain peace after opposition forces broke out into protest last April, leaving more than 100 people dead.
The Venezuelan government is requesting the opposition accept the legality of the National Constituent Assembly, ANC, which went into session in August 2017. It also wants opposition forces and constituents to help lift sanctions on the country enforced by the U.S. government.
The opposition wants the government of President Nicolas Maduro to recognize several of its parties within the ANC, despite not having participated in last October’s nationwide municipal elections. It also wants the government to open the country to "humanitarian aid."