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Venezuela’s Maduro reiterates call for dialogue with opposition

Venezuela’s Maduro reiterates call for dialogue with opposition

Venezuela’s Maduro reiterates call for dialogue with opposition
July 06
15:52 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has reiterated his call for dialogue with opposition figure Juan Guaido to end the political stalemate.

Speaking to a gathering of top military officials at a military parade in the capital Caracas, Maduro renewed his support for a negotiation process mediated by Norway between his government and Guaido, who is the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

“There is room for all of us within Venezuela,” Maduro said in his speech in Caracas. “We must all give up something in order to reach an agreement…We look to the heavens, asking for peace.”

Both Maduro and Guaido have sent representatives to a round of talks in Norway, which started mediating between the two sides, in May. But the negotiations have failed to resolve differences.

The Venezuelan president also hailed the Friday parade, which marked the 208th year of Venezuela’s independence from Spain, as “a demonstration of excellent cohesion, discipline, union, and versatility.”

All branches of the military, police and other security agencies, as well as civic groups associated with the Venezuelan government attended the Maduro's military march.

This came as Guaido held a separate independence day event, calling on supporters to march toward the headquarters of the military counterintelligence directorate in Caracas, where navy captain Rafael Acosta died in custody last month.

Guaido rejected what he claimed was Maduro’s “dictatorship” and called on the Venezuelan military to join his movement.

Venezuela's opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks during a march against the government, from the UN development program headquarters to the Military Counterintelligence General Directorate (DGCIM) headquarters in Caracas on July 5, 2019, during the anniversary of the Venezuelan Independence. (Photo by AFP)

Venezuela has been in a political chaos in recent months, particularly after the US-backed opposition figure unilaterally declared himself the “interim president” in January.

Washington has encouraged Guaido’s attempts to topple Maduro, ratcheting up the support during an abortive coup that saw Guaido’s supporters spreading chaos across Venezuela in late April.

The US also called for withdrawal of Russian servicemen from Venezuela. Russia maintains about 1,000 military experts there as part of a mutual defense agreement.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was cited by RIA news agency on Friday that Moscow had plans to take steps to strengthen Venezuela’s armed forces.

“I want to underline that I am talking specifically about work with equipment which was delivered there,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

UN human rights report 'biased'

Separately on Friday, Venezuela rejected a report by the United Nations’ human rights office that accused Caracas of human rights violations.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, published a report this week accusing Venezuelan security forces of extrajudicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances and other rights violations in recent years.

The Venezuelan government dismissed the report as “biased” and said it had failed to reflect “the reality in our country.”

Caracas demanded that the report be corrected since the UN observers and sources lacked objectivity in detailing the medical clinics and food distribution centers they toured earlier this year.

Rights group claim some 700 people, including about 100 members of the military, are detained in Venezuela for political reasons. The government denies it has put anyone behind bars for such causes.

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