Venezuelan opposition says Norway talks will still continue

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Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said talks hosted by Norway between his delegation and that of President Nicolas Maduro would continue despite Wednesday’s discussions ending “without agreement.”

“We thank the Norwegian government for its desire to contribute to a solution to the chaos our country is suffering. We’re prepared to continue alongside them,” Guaido said in a statement.

Maduro also expressed support for dialogue on Wednesday, saying in televised remarks that: “I believe in dialogue. Our path is dialogue, respect for the constitution, peace, democracy.”

Delegations representing the Venezuelan rivals met face-to-face in Oslo for the first time this week in a process begun two weeks ago under Norwegian auspices to find a solution to the South American country’s economic and political crises.

Venezuela has been ravaged by five years of recession marked by shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicines.

It was plunged deeper into political turmoil in January when National Assembly speaker Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro’s authority.

He was quickly backed by more than 50 countries in his bid to oust the socialist leader that the National Assembly has branded illegitimate over his controversial re-election last year in polls the opposition claims were fraudulent.

Despite agreeing to talks, Guaido insisted in his statement that the opposition’s aims have not changed.

“We’ve ratified our plan: the end of the usurpation, a transitional government and free elections, as a route to solve the tragedy our Venezuela is suffering today,” said Guaido.

He also insisted that the Oslo talks “don’t stop the opposition’s efforts in every constitutional area” to force Maduro from power.

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