Russia has expressed readiness to play a role in a new round of peace talks between the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the US-backed opposition slated for next week in Norway’s capital, Oslo.
The Norwegian government announced Sunday that delegates from the Maduro government and the opposition will resume negotiations in Oslo in an effort to find ways out of a months-long political crisis plaguing the Latin American country. Norway will be acting as a mediator.
An earlier round of such talks was held in Oslo this month, but the opposition said there were no face-to-face meetings.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the continuation of the talks, saying it was ready to assist in the negotiating process.
“Moscow welcomes the announcement about the continuation of contacts between the Venezuelan government and opposition being held in Oslo through Norway’s good services,” said the statement.
The political crisis began in Venezuela in January when opposition figure Juan Guaido — who heads Venezuela’s now defunct National Assembly — abruptly declared himself “interim president” and called for early election. Caracas called it a coup attempt masterminded by the US.
Russia further warned against external powers trying to foist ultimatums on the Venezuelan leadership.
“We call on all states involved in the Venezuela situation to support the launch of the political process in the form of talks between the country’s major forces, refraining from issuing ultimatums to Venezuela’s leadership,” it added.
The warning came in an apparent message to the US, which quickly recognized Guaido and has been actively attempting to replace Maduro with Guaido.
The opposition returned to the negotiating table with Maduro weeks after the Caracas government and the army petered out a coup orchestrated by Guaido and a small group of renegade soldiers in Caracas.
In a video posted on Twitter, Maduro welcomed the second round as a chance “to look for peace, always to look for peace.”
Guaido also welcomed the initiative, but said the opposition would not be dragged into any process that delayed efforts “to find a solution to the chaos our country is suffering.”