Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó (left) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Picture: STF/AFP
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó (left) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Picture: STF/AFP

Caracas  — A third round of negotiations between Venezuela’s government and the opposition will take place in Barbados this week.

The new exploratory talks seek to end a bitter clash between President Nicolas Maduro, who has been accused of stealing the last election, and Juan Guaidó, who says he is the country’s rightful leader. Prior negotiations had taken place in Oslo with Norwegian officials acting as mediators.

“We don’t have unlimited time, every day our situation is becoming worse,”  Guaidó's office said in a statement. He is recognised by about 50 nations including the US as the leader of the country. “Venezuelans, our allies and the world’s democracies recognise the need to hold truly free and transparent elections.”

Venezuela’s information ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Norway’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Sunday confirming that talks will start “this week” in Barbados. The parties will now meet to continue work on finding a negotiated and constitutional solution, as “quickly as possible”, it said in the statement.

“Norway reiterates its recognition of the parties for their efforts and willingness to cooperate,” foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said.

While Guaidó’s envoys will push for new elections in the talks, there are divisions within the opposition on whether Maduro can still be in power for a vote to take place.

The European Union’s special adviser on Venezuela, Enrique Iglesias, is set to visit the country next week. A United Nations report last week called for the Venezuelan government to take “immediate, concrete measures to halt and remedy the grave violations” of economic, social and civil rights.

Bloomberg