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Government talks to resume with opposition in fortnight

INTERNATIONALLY mediated talks between Venezuela’s government and opposition will resume in the Dominican Republic in two weeks.

Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas announced the breakthrough on Thursday, following a closed-door meeting with both sides and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero in the capital Santo Domingo.

The talks will take place on December 1 and 2 in the same city.

Mr Vargas said that session would be a “preparatory meeting on the methodological and technical aspects” of resuming the process.

Also present will be the “companion countries of the process, represented by their foreign ministers.”

Mr Zapatero is one of several current and former leaders who have mediated between President Nicholas Maduro’s socialist government and the Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) opposition since late last year.

The Mud walked out of talks in Caracas in February — after the government had released several alleged political prisoners — and launched a four-month campaign of regime-change riots in April that claimed 124 lives.

Negotiations under the Dominican aegis began in September, but soon stalled.

Meanwhile, sacked Venezuelan attorney-general Luisa Ortega petitioned the International Criminal Court in The Hague to prosecute Mr Maduro and four other government figures for “crimes against humanity.”

The self-styled former supporter of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution presented more than 1,000 documents that she claimed were proof that the security forces had been responsible for more than 8,000 murders since 2015.

“Nicolas Maduro and his government should pay for these crimes against humanity, just as they must also pay for the hunger, misery and hardship they’ve inflicted on the Venezuelan people,” she said.

In New York, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association voted to declare Venezuela in default of its debts, despite a restructuring deal agreed on Wednesday that subsequently received Russia and China’s vote of confidence.

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