The Venezuelan opposition said on Sunday it would take part in talks in Barbados with the government of president Nicolás Maduro in an attempt to find a way out of the political deadlock that has gripped the nation for months.
In a statement, it also said it would meet Enrique Iglesias, the European Union’s special adviser for Venezuela, for talks in Caracas.
It did not give dates for either event but Mr Iglesias is expected in Venezuela this week.
Venezuela’s opposition, led by the head of Congress Juan Guaidó, has been trying to oust Mr Maduro since the start of this year, saying the president won power through bogus elections in 2018 and is an illegitimate leader.
But Mr Maduro has resisted all efforts to remove him and the opposition has been forced to back down. It has taken part in two rounds of negotiations in Oslo brokered by the Norwegian government. The talks in Barbados are part of the same process.
While accepting the invitation to talk, Mr Guaidó insisted: “We do not have unlimited time. Every day that passes the situation worsens.” He added that the opposition had an “enormous and historical responsibility” to seek ways out of the crisis.
He called on Mr Maduro’s opponents to unite behind him. Some hardline members of Venezuela’s opposition have opposed the Norwegian-led talks, saying they are a waste of time and simply allow Mr Maduro to prolong his grip on the presidency.
The talks come amid a profound economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The economy has halved in size since Mr Maduro took office in 2013, inflation is rife and an estimated 4m people have fled due to a lack of food, work and medicine.
The United Nations accused the Maduro government last week of human rights abuses including “arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, sexual violence, killings and enforced disappearance”.