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  • Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela

    Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela's Communications Minister, talks to the media following Venezuela's government and opposition meeting in Santo Domingo. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 February 2018

A phone call earlier in the day by the Colombian president to the Venezuelan opposition delegation seems to have stalled the finalizing of the deal.

Representatives from the Venezuelan government signed Tuesday night the peace agreement document and are still waiting for the opposition to do the same, Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez told reporters Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo.

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Rodriguez stressed that all the demands requested by the opposition are reflected in the agreenment, while expressing regret that a phone call by the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to opposition leaders earlier Tuesday had stalled the talks.

Meanwhile Dominican President Danilo Medina said at midnight that he has called on the two sides to hold further talks Wednesday morning. "We have prepared a document that includes the recommendations the opposition has requested and we will receive them tomorrow at 10 a.m." Either side has confirmed they would attend the meeting. 

Venezuelan government spokesman Rodríguez pointed out that only two points requested by the opposition, which deal with electoral guarantees and an electoral schedule, had to be agreed on and added to this document.

Meanwhile the government asked for two points to be included in the agreement, titled “Agreement of Democratic Coexistence for Venezuela, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic," according to Rodríguez. The first deals with the Guayana Esequiba.

"The government and the opposition ratify the legitimate right of Venezuela over the territory of the Guayana Esequiba and request firm support for the actions undertaken by the republic in defense of its sovereign right over the Essequibo," the minister told reporters.

The second point proposed by the government and included in the agreement was for both parties to recognize the results of the upcoming 2018 presidential elections "regardless of the results".

Rodríguez further slammed the interventionist actions of Tillerson against the peace dialogue in Venezuela as he tours Latin America and is urging governments to take action against the Venezuelan socialist government.

He also lamented that representatives of the opposition were receiving instructions from the Trump administration which has in turn prevented the Venezuelan right-wing factions from signing the peace agreement.

Upon arriving at the headquarters of the Dominican Foreign Ministry earlier in the day, the minister said that "yesterday [Monday] at night we managed to form a definitive agreement with the Venezuelan opposition, and we came to sign it today in the Dominican Republic. All the details are completely ready, we are here ready and ready."

Rodriguez stressed that the final agreement "is good news for the women and men of peace in Venezuela, but it is bad news for the extremist administration of Donald Trump, for Santos [president of Colombia] and Rajoy [head of the Spanish government]".

For his part, the spokesman of the opposition delegation, Julio Borges, said upon arriving at the meeting that "there is no agreement", but a dialogue table to explore.

However, it seems that the phone call by the Colombian president to the Venezuelan opposition delegation, upon the request of the U.S. top Diplomat Tillerson, stalled the signing of the agreement as Santos asked the right-wing lawmakers to hold off on approving the deal.

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Earlier in the day Rodriguez had pointed out that the behavior of the opposition's leadership in the country has been erratic, as they have contradicted themselves in calls for elections that they later reject, as is now the case with the presidential elections scheduled before April 30.

Four opposition candidates have been approved by electoral authorities so far, and two more are being processed, he added.

The mediation sessions have been attended and observed by Dominican President Medina, Zapatero and international delegates from Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Maduro has urged the National Constituent Assembly and National Electoral Council to set a date for the upcoming presidential elections. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, known as the PSUV, formally selected Maduro on Friday as its candidate for the presidential election.


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