Venezuela's government, opposition agree on agenda for dialogue

    17 de noviembre de 2017

    Santo Domingo, Nov 16 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan government and opposition moved a step closer to agreeing on an agenda for upcoming crisis talks after a meeting in Santo Domingo on Thursday which both sides described as positive.

    The representative of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, Jorge Rodriguez, and opposition leader Gustavo Velasquez, confirmed that there had been progress in outlining the main topics at the negotiations to be held on Dec. 1 and 2 to resolve the ongoing Venezuelan crisis.

    "We are very close to reaching a definitive agreement. We have come a long way and I don't think we will need another four years to reach an agreement of coexistence," Rodriguez told the press at the end of the meeting.

    The deputy Venezuelan Minister of Communications Jorge Rodriguez added that the discussions between his government and the opposition had resulted in a "shared effort" in favor of democracy, peace and well-being of the country.

    "The main point of the discussions is to respect the political and economic guarantees when the elections are held in Venezuela next year, to stop the external violence against Venezuela," he said, adding that the both sides ended the meeting "satisfied."

    Thursday's meeting in the Dominican capital was also attended by the Dominican Republic's foreign minister Miguel Vargas and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

    The Dec. 1 and 2 talks in Santo Domingo will be also attended by foreign ministers from six countries, including Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Bolivia, in addition to Medina and Rodriguez Zapatero. The Venezuela government was expected to announce the sixth country on Friday.

    "We have made a positive assessment of the meeting and its objectives are very clear: clean elections, attention to the humanitarian emergency and the release of prisoners. These are the only reasons why we have promoted a peaceful and democratic solution to the Venezuelan crisis," opposition spokesperson Velasquez said.

    "We are looking for the mechanisms to solve Venezuela's major problems (...) This negotiation is mainly aimed at securing free elections to solve the our country's problems," he added in a brief statement.