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Secret talks between Venezuelan government and opposition – sources

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — A group of Venezuelan government officials are holding secret talks with opposition activists focusing on economic issues, despite a Norwegian-brokered official dialogue suspended, nine sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The talks include officials from the Socialist Party, who are seeking to end US sanctions and come up with strategies to mitigate their impact, and opposition leaders insist that the recovery of the economy depends on the departure of President Nicolas Maduro to power.

The meetings, which took place once a week in August, show that Maduro continues to seek outreach to the opposition, despite the Norwegian-brokered dialogue being suspended and his country’s economy deteriorating.

Informal talks in Caracas are taking place through the Boston Group, founded in the early 2000s by members of the US Congress who seek to promote dialogue between Venezuelan lawmakers.

Sources say the talks began in June and have picked up pace and the number of participants has increased since Maduro’s government withdrew in August from the Norwegian-sponsored formal talks.

The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

An opposition official said the government might use the talks to sow dissent.

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