Venezuela's Guaido rejects 'false dialogue' ahead of new talks in Norway




Venezuela
Venezuela's self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido, pictured on May 24, 2019, is cautious about the talks in Norway because they are unpopular with the opposition base that has spent months in the streets trying to push out President Nicolas Maduro  

Carora (Venezuela) (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition leader Saturday rejected "false dialogue" in resolving the country's political crisis, as Norway announced it would host another round of talks between his representatives and the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The two sides would return to Oslo next week "to continue a process facilitated by Norway," the Scandinavian country's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreid said.

The mediation bid comes after a months-long power struggle between National Assembly leader Juan Guaido and the socialist president, with sometimes deadly street clashes.

US-backed Guaido is recognized by dozens of countries as interim president after dismissing Maduro's presidency as "illegitimate" following his re-election last year in polls widely dismissed as rigged.

Maduro has been shunned by much of the international community for presiding over the country's economic collapse, which has led to shortages of basic goods -- forcing millions to flee -- as well as brutally suppressing dissent.

He retains the backing of major creditors Russia, China and Cuba, as well as the powerful military.

"Nobody is ever going to get us here confused about a false dialogue," Guaido told supporters in Carora, Lara state on Saturday, without addressing Norway's announcement directly.

He is cautious about the talks since they are unpopular with the opposition base that has spent months in the streets trying to push Maduro out.

Guaido said there had been no "negotiation" in the Norway talks, while any deal should include mediation leading to Maduro's departure and new elections being scheduled.

"We are going to insist," he said, "because today by combining all our strategies, using all the tools we have, we are going to get to that final step," Guaido said, referring to street protests and multiple levels of diplomacy.

Guaido tried to incite a military uprising against Maduro on April 30 but only about 30 members of the armed forces joined him.

The socialist regime has since ramped up pressure on Guaido's allies and supporters, charging 10 lawmakers with treason.

The pro-government Constituent Assembly recently stripped 14 opposition lawmakers of their legislative immunity over their support for the failed uprising.

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