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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro shakes hands with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at Miraflores Palace, in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 February 2017

The government said the meeting confirms President Maduro's will to advance talks with the opposition.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has continued attempts to salvage stalled negotiations with the opposition, meeting Monday with the former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who in recent months has helped to foster the talks aimed at calming flared political tensions in the South American country.

ANALYSIS:
Venezuela's Dialogue: A Win for Maduro and the Revolution

The government said the meeting in the presidential palace in Caracas demonstrated Maduro’s “unwavering spirit” of seeing the dialogue through to a resolution in the name of encouraging “lasting peace.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and the government’s chief negotiator, Jorge Rodriguez, also attended the meeting with Rodriguez Zapatero.

The former Spanish prime minister joined a mission created by the Union of South American Nations or Unasur last year aimed at stimulating the dialogue process in Venezuela. Former presidents Martin Torrijos of Panama and Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic also joined the regional mission to support the talks.

The talks come after Maduro announced plans earlier this month to set up a meeting with Pope Francis, another key mediator in the negotiations, in hopes of giving a boost to the stagnated dialogue.

“The dialogue process continues,” Maduro said recently.

The government and opposition launched the talks in October, but the process broke down after the opposition repeatedly abandoned the negotiations, revealing fractures in the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition, known as the MUD.

Talks were organized based on four themes fueling tense political debate in the country: peace and respect for the rule of law; truth, justice, human rights, reparations for victims and reconciliation; economic and social issues; and planning for elections.


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