Venezuela to Resume Talks with US, Says Maduro

The South American nation’s president has agreed to Washington’s proposal to restart negotiations

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has committed to resuming talks with the United States, which reinstated sanctions on Venezuela’s energy sector in April. The announcement comes less than a month before the South American country heads to the polls for a presidential election, in which Maduro is seeking a third consecutive term.

During a televised address on Monday, the incumbent stated that Washington had reached out to Caracas with a proposition to re-establish dialogue.

”After careful consideration for two months, I have accepted, and next Wednesday, talks will recommence with the United States government to fulfill the agreements signed in Qatar and to re-establish the terms of the urgent dialogue,” Maduro said, as cited by the Associated Press news agency.

Venezuelan official negotiator Jorge Rodriguez will travel for the talks, the President added, without specifying the specific topics to be discussed or the location of the latest round of dialogue.

The Qatar-brokered agreement Maduro referred to was reached by Venezuela and the US after months of discussions in September 2023 and secured a prisoner exchange arrangement between the two nations.

The US had also suspended certain energy sanctions on Caracas after Maduro’s government and the opposition agreed in Barbados in October to conduct a free and fair election in 2024 monitored by international observers.

The sanctions however were reimposed in April after the US asserted that Maduro had failed to uphold democratic principles. Maduro’s government in turn accused Washington of violating the Qatar accord.

”We’re going to engage in discussion and strive to reach new agreements to ensure that everything is adhered to, (especially) what we signed in Qatar,” Maduro said, as cited by AFP.

The vote scheduled for July 28 will elect a president for a six-year term. Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia is representing the main opposition political alliance, the Unitary Platform. Other leading opposition candidates were disqualified during their campaign or in previous elections.

Caracas has been subject to US sanctions for over 15 years. Washington declined to recognize Nicolas Maduro as the country’s president following the 2018 election, and instead declared the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, to be the interim leader of the country.

All Venezuelan government assets were frozen in the US and any dealings with US citizens and companies were prohibited.

Maduro has previously called for a “new era” of US-Venezuela relations “based on respect and collaboration.” Venezuela demands the permanent lifting of all US sanctions, according to the president, who maintains that Caracas has complied with the deal signed in Barbados.