- Title: Venezuelan govt and opposition hold talks
- Date: 12th November 2016
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (NOVEMBER 11, 2016) (REUTERS) (ASPECT 16:9) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF MONSIGNOR CLAUDIO MARIA CELLI, VATICAN ENVOY, ARRIVING MEETING BETWEEN VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES, OPPOSITION MEMBERS AND MEDIATOR MEDIATORS, INCLUDING FORMER SPANISH PRIME MINISTER JOSE LUIS ZAPATERO, IN TALKS GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES IN TALKS OPPOSITION MEMBERS IN TALKS FORMER DOMINICAN PRESIDENT LEONEL FERNANDEZ AND CELLI DURING TALKS UNASUR SECRETARY ERNESTO SAMPER AND CELLI LEAVING MEETING OFFICIALS AT CONFERENCE TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MONSIGNOR CLAUDIO MARIA CELLI, VATICAN ENVOY, SAYING: "I think it's very positive that the government delegation and the opposition have met, have spoken, facing delicate and important topics for the life of the country. I see this moment as very positive, one of the ex-presidents used the word 'miracle' that the two delegations talk and do so in a respectful, attentive manner, because that is unquestionable." OFFICIALS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ERNESTO SAMPER, UNASUR SECRETARY, SAYING: "We have invited both the government and the opposition for them to share these visions to be shared and find common and inclusive denominators for there to be a declaration of principles tomorrow over the common denominators that could unite all Venezuelans for peace, for prosperity, for happiness." VARIOUS OF SAMPER AND CELLI WALKING OUT OF NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 27th November 2016 05:16
- Keywords: talks Vatican opposition Venezuelan government elections political prisoners Nicolas Maduro
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00158044LF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's opposition and the government of President Nicolas Maduro engaged in a new round of talks on Friday (November 11) evening as part of a Vatican-backed dialogue process meant to ease a political standoff amid the spiraling economic crisis.
Neither side appeared optimistic, however, with the opposition insisting on a recall referendum against Maduro and the Socialist administration showing little indication of agreeing to that.
The government released a small group of jailed opposition activists following the start of talks last week, and the opposition postponed a political trial in Congress against Maduro and canceled a march to the presidential palace.
But Jesus Torrealba, executive secretary of the opposition's Democratic Unity coalition, said before the meeting on Friday that Maduro's adversaries were ready to resume confrontation.
Television footage showed four top Socialist Party officials and four counterparts from the opposition, as well as representatives from the church, regional bloc Unasur, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Maduro did not appear in the images.
The meeting was expected to continue into Saturday.
The first meeting, held on Sunday October 30, stretched well into dawn hours.
The political crisis intensified in recent weeks after elections authorities scuttled an opposition effort to request a recall against Maduro following accusations of fraud in a preliminary signature drive.
The opposition accuses the 53-year-old president of being responsible for the country's crisis, which includes triple-digit inflation, a recession and shortages of food and medicine.
Maduro, who was elected president in 2013 after the death of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, calls the situation the result of an "economic war" led by the opposition in efforts to unseat him.
Earlier on Friday, he lambasted what he said was the opposition's lack of commitment to dialogue.
For the dialogue to continue, the opposition is insisting the government release more than a hundred jailed activists, allow international humanitarian assistance, and name a new board of directors to the elections council.
They also have demanded respect for decisions by the opposition-led Congress, which has had nearly every one of its measures shot down by the top court.
Maduro in turn has demanded that Congress respect a top court sentence that effectively stripped the opposition of a super majority won last year, a sentence the opposition maintains was fraudulent.
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