Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard described the announcement of the talks as “very positive,” and said that his country is “willing and ready to receive them.”
Representatives from the delegations of the Venezuelan government and the so-called Unitary Platform, representing the radical sector of the opposition, reported on Tuesday, May 18, that they had held a meeting in México, reopening a new chapter in the complicated negotiations.
Attending the meeting were the president of the National Assembly (AN) of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, representing the government, and Gerardo Blyde, for the Unitary Platform (G4). Both posted the same message on their Twitter accounts after the meeting: “In a working meeting for future plans. Restoring the spirit of the México [Talks].”
In a statement, the Unitary Platform said that the early phases of these talks will include meetings and discussions to agree on “necessary elements” for a prompt relaunch of the negotiation process, while Rodríguez commented that the government has insisted on “the crucial importance of achieving agreements on social issues.”
Foreign Affairs Minister of México, Marcelo Ebrard, described the restart of the talks as “very positive” and reiterated his country’s willingness to continue hosting the negotiations, suspended in October last year when Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab was abducted from Cape Verde and transported to the US.
“The announcement of the resumption of the dialogue between the government of Venezuela and the Unitary Platform is very positive,” the Mexican official wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday morning. “México is willing and ready to receive them and help make it a success. Congratulations.”
Muy positivo el anuncio de la reanudación del diálogo entre Gobierno de Venezuela y la Plataforma Unitaria de Venezuela. México dispuesto y listo para recibirles y contribuir a que sean todo un éxito. Enhorabuena!!
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) May 18, 2022
México hosted the negotiations between the government and the Venezuelan opposition in August 2021, with the mediation of Norway. In the first round, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to reaffirm their willingness to dialogue.
Saab in negotiations
Rodríguez commented that the government will insist on its demand for Álex Saab’s participation at the negotiating table.
“Our brother Álex Saab, kidnapped for 704 days, is a full member of the Venezuelan delegation, and is our delegate at the social table we are discussing,” said Rodríguez. “In this sense, Venezuela has demanded, demands, and will demand, the participation of Álex Saab in any of the work initiatives that are eventually agreed upon.”
Venezuela has insisted on the satisfaction of this condition for negotiations to be resumed since they were suspended seven months ago.
While the meeting between Rodríguez and Blyde was reported on Tuesday, information was also circulating on various media outlets that the US would ease economic sanctions on Venezuela.
A US official told Reuters that Washington planned to ease coercive measures to help pave the way for negotiations.
However, during the Seventh Annual Hemispheric Security Conference organized by Florida International University (FIU), Juan González, adviser to President Joe Biden for Western Hemisphere Affairs, commented that the steps the White House would take would be in response to announcements by the government and the opposition in Venezuela.
“We will come out with a statement in response to what the two sides say,” Biden said, and claimed that the relief of illegal sanctions would depend on concrete progress in the negotiations.
“We are going to alleviate the pressure through actions, ambitious and concrete results, that lead Venezuela to free and democratic elections, and we will only do it that way,” alleged Biden. “If there is any type of delay, of setback, then we will reapply the sanctions.” In this regard, Biden continued to refer to sanctions as a threat that could bring Venezuela to its knees. However, in reality this is not the case, as demonstrated by the consistent growth of Venezuela’s economy over the past six months.
For her part, the Venezuelan Vice President, Delcy Rodríguez, reported that the government had verified and confirmed the potential partial relief of the sanctions. Specifically, she pointed out that the US had “authorized US and European oil companies to negotiate and restart operations” in the South American country.
The changes that Washington has applied with respect to the sanctions will reportedly allow Chevron Corp. to negotiate its license with the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), but not to drill or export oil of Venezuelan origin.
“Venezuela hopes that these decisions by the United States of America pave the way for the absolute lifting of the illegal sanctions that affect all of our people,” Delcy Rodríguez said.
Likewise, she said that Caracas ” will continue to tirelessly promote fruitful dialogue in a national and international format.”
“An agreement is urgent”
Ex-deputy Juan Guaidó also spoke about the meeting between Jorge Rodríguez and Blyde. Although it has dampened its tone on this subject, the US continues to recognize Guaidó as the representative of the “interim government” in Venezuela.
“We insist on the urgency of immediately restarting the Mexico Talks in favor of Venezuelans, aware of how they have been used before by the dictatorship,” Guaidó commented on his Twitter account. “That is why international accompaniment, and strengthening unity, are also key to achieving real solutions.”
“An agreement is urgently needed to deal with the emergency, to do justice, re-institutionalize the country and provide conditions for free and fair elections, with guarantees for all sectors,” added Guaidó.
So far, neither the Venezuelan parties nor the Mexican government have reported a specific date for the resumption of negotiations.
Featured image: Press conference for the dialogue between the government and the radical opposition of Venezuela, Mexico, September 2021. Photo: Claudio Cruz/AFP.
(Actualidad RT) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune