The Russian Ambassador to Venezuela, Sergey Melik Bagdasarov, stated that Russia has always been supportive of the establishment of a national political dialogue in Venezuela, and considers that only the people of Venezuela can most effectively decide how this would come about.
“The constitutional government of President Nicolás Maduro has always been in favor of a broad negotiation,” said Ambassador Melik. “When [Russian] Foreign Minister Lavrov visited Venezuela in 2020, he also declared his support for this. We have always supported the dialogue and consider that it is the Venezuelan people, and no one else, who should decide the format of the negotiations.”
On May 18, Jorge Rodríguez, the president of the National Assembly and head of the government delegation, met with the head of the opposition representation, Gerardo Blyde, to discuss the resumption of negotiations.
Rodríguez wrote on Twitter, “In my role as representative of the Venezuelan government delegation for the dialogue process, I have met with Dr. Gerardo Blyde to look for strategies for the future.”
En mi condición de representante de la delegación del gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela para los procesos de diálogo, he sostenido reunión con el Dr Gerardo Blyde para buscar fórmulas de acción para el futuro. Abro hilo pic.twitter.com/0sIbTtmNhp
— Jorge Rodríguez (@jorgerpsuv) May 17, 2022
The meeting between Rodríguez and Blyde took place a few hours after the United States authorized its oil companies, as well as European ones, to restart operations in Venezuela.
Previously, Associated Press (AP) had reported that anonymous sources had informed that the US had decided to ease some economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela with the aim of encouraging the resumption of negotiations between the government and the opposition.
The Nicolás Maduro government and the opposition began negotiations in Mexico City in August 2021. Russia took part in the talks as an accompanying country.
In this regard, Ambassador Melik Bagdasarov commented, “We always say that it is only Venezuelans who can decide their own future; they can hold a dialogue with each other because this is the essence of dialogue—the essence is not the presence of international parties or receiving countries, such as, initially, Santo Domingo [Dominican Republic], then Barbados, Oslo [Norway], and now Mexico, a very welcoming country that received the negotiating delegations.”
The negotiations were interrupted after the Venezuelan government decided to suspend its participation in October 2021, as the US government kidnapped Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab from Cape Verde to the United States. Saab had been incorporated as a full member of the government delegation.
On repeated occasions, Maduro has pointed out that the negotiations between his government and the opposition, which was being held in Mexico, were targeted by the United States.
Before the suspension of the negotiations, both delegations had signed a memorandum of understanding consisting of seven points: political rights, electoral guarantees and an electoral schedule, the lifting of sanctions, respect for the rule of law, political and social coexistence, protection of the social economy mechanisms, and guarantees for law implementation and electoral monitoring.
Last March, a group of US officials went to Caracas and met with Maduro.
After the meeting, two imprisoned US citizens were released—a former manager of PDVSA subsidiary CITGO, arrested in 2017 on charges of corruption, and a Cuban-Venezuelan-US citizen accused of terrorism.
This meeting was the first rapprochement between the Maduro administration and the US after the 2019 rupture which was caused by the US recognition of former deputy Juan Guaidó as “interim president.”
Featured image: Russian Ambassador to Venezuela, Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov (right), in meeting with the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez (center). Photo: Foreign Affairs Ministry of Venezuela.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune