Francis added that a formal mediation should be seen as the last step in diplomacy.
Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the Vatican would be willing to mediate in Venezuela if both sides asked, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had written a letter to him.
Francis, speaking to reporters aboard his plane returning from a trip to Abu Dhabi, also confirmed that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had written a letter to him but that he had not yet read it.
Maduro told Italian broadcaster Sky TG24 on Monday that he had sent the letter to the pope “for help in the process of facilitating and reinforcing dialogue.”
Asked about a possible direct mediation effort by the Vatican, the pope said: “I will read the letter and see what can be done but the initial condition is that both sides ask for it. We are willing.”
He said some preliminary steps had to be taken first by the Vatican and other members of the international community.
He said this would include efforts to “to try to bring one (side) closer to the other, to start a process of dialogue.”
The pope spoke as a few European nations joined the United States in recognizing Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state — an opposition lawmaker who declared himself as the ‘interim president’ of Venezuela on Jan. 23 in violation of the country’s constitution.
President Maduro has called for dialogue since the beginning of the political situation in Venezuela. He called for a renewed round of talks in his first speech shortly after the Guaido declaration.