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article imageLatAm powers to meet Venezuela crisis mediators: OAS

By AFP     Jun 15, 2016 in World

Venezuela has asked its regional neighbors to meet next week with international mediators trying to help settle the country's economic and political crisis, officials said Wednesday.

The Organization of American States (OAS) scheduled a session of its permanent council for June 21 in Washington to meet with the mediators at Venezuela's request, according to an OAS document.

The council will talk with three ex-leaders seeking to mediate between Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and opponents seeking to remove him from office.

The three mediators are former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and former presidents Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic and Martin Torrijos of Panama.

The document was shown to AFP during the OAS general assembly in the Dominican Republic.

OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro of Uruguay has called for the 34-country organization to meet on June 23 to discuss possibly suspending Venezuela over Maduro's human rights record.

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rally in Caracas on June 14  2016
Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rally in Caracas on June 14, 2016
Federico Parra, AFP/File

The mediation led by Zapatero has been proposed as a possible alternative.

- Venezuela-US talks -

On Tuesday, Venezuela and the United States agreed to launch new high-level talks after years of tension.

The announcement came after US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez on the sidelines of the OAS gathering.

Rodriguez said in televised comments on Tuesday that she had asked for the June 21 meeting.

Panama's current president, Juan Carlos Varela, on Wednesday issued a call for dialogue between Venezuela's government and opposition after meeting with opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

US Secretary of State John Kerry  is seen with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez during th...
US Secretary of State John Kerry, is seen with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez during the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, June 14, 2016, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Evan Vucci, POOL/AFP

Capriles has in recent days also met with the presidents of Argentina and Paraguay to ask them to pressure Maduro.

Maduro's opponents are pushing to hold a referendum on whether to cut short his term to ease mounting humanitarian concerns.

The opposition blame him for an economic crisis that has led to food shortages and prompted riots and looting.

Maduro blames the crisis on an "economic war" against him by the business elite.

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