A meeting between Venezuela’s government and opposition has ended without agreement as Norway holds talks aimed at resolving the South American country’s long-running conflict, opposition leader Juan Guaido’s office said on Wednesday.
During the meeting in Oslo, Guaido’s office said it had ratified a roadmap for ending Nicolas Maduro’s presidency, installing a transition government, and holding free elections that would “resolve the tragedy that Venezuela is suffering.”
His office gave no details about the lack of an agreement, but Maduro has said previously he would not step aside. Guaido in January assumed a rival interim presidency and denounces Maduro as illegitimate after he secured re-election last year in a vote widely criticized as rigged.
“This meeting ended without agreement. We have insisted that the mediation will be useful for Venezuela whenever there are elements that allow us to advance in support of a true solution,” Juan Guaido’s office said in a statement.
Norway’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that envoys for Venezuela’s government and opposition had shown a “willingness” to make some headway.
“The parties have demonstrated their willingness to move forward in the search for an agreed-upon and constitutional solution for the country, which includes political, economic and electoral matters,” the foreign ministry said.
In its statement, Oslo called on both sides to show discretion in public comments so as not to damage the process.
Norway has a long tradition of conflict mediation, but has its work cut out solving the Venezuelan crisis, which has become a geopolitical football as dozens of Western and Latin American nations recognize Guaido, while Russia and China back Maduro.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter that he spoke with Guaido by phone on Wednesday, but did not say if they discussed the Oslo talks.
“Told him America will continue to stand with Venezuela until freedom is restored! The people of Venezuela are suffering under dictatorship and oppression. Nicolas Maduro must go,” Pence said.
Economic collapse has driven more than 3 million Venezuelans abroad in recent years, while political protests have often turned deadly.
Maduro calls Guaido a U.S.-controlled puppet who is fomenting a coup against him and has said he should face justice. Intelligence agents have detained several Guaido allies and the Supreme Court this month has accused 14 opposition lawmakers of crimes including treason and conspiracy.