Venezuelan govt, opposition talks on ice, says Dominican president

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Venezuelan govt, opposition talks on ice, says Dominican president

CARACAS. — Talks between Venezuela’s socialist government and right-wing opposition went into an “indefinite recess” after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement, president of the Dominican Republic said Wednesday.

“The dialogue enters here into a kind of indefinite recess,” Danilo Medina, whose country was hosting the conversations, told reporters at a press conference in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

According to Medina, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said it was willing to sign a document that was previously negotiated between the two sides, but the opposition came with a different proposal.

On January 31, both sides signed a preliminary agreement in the city to promote peaceful coexistence and restore normalcy to the public sector, but opposition representative Julio Borges declined to use the phrase “preliminary agreement,” saying it was rather a “document that gathers those points on which there has been progress.”

Medina, on Wednesday, told reporters “In any case, we will send (the government) the document the opposition submitted to us … but not with the expectation that they are going to respond.”

“In the end, they will have to return to sit at the negotiating table, because there is no other way towards understanding except through dialogue,” he added.

Setting the date for the presidential elections was one of the points of contention the two sides sought to resolve through resumed dialogue in Santo Domingo since September, in a bid to overcome a political stalemate that has only intensified Venezuela’s economic woes.

The 2018 elections were originally scheduled to take place in December, but the ruling socialist party is eager to hold the elections as soon as possible, sensing its current advantage over a divided and weak opposition.

Medina said the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable, known by its Spanish acronym MUD, was asking elections be held in June, while the government requested they take place in March.

More than two weeks ago, Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly unanimously voted to move up the presidential elections to sometime before the April 30 deadline.

Earlier on Wednesday, the opposition warned the government to refrain from making a “unilateral” decision about when to hold elections. – Xinhua

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