French President Emmanuel Macron has indicated he hopes the Paris Peace Forum, opening on Friday, will set the stage to relaunch the stalled dialogue between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his opponents. The South American nation remains a key OPEC oil producer as countries weather the global energy crisis.
Macron hosted his Argentinian counterpart Alberto Fernandez and Colombian President Gustavo Petro late Friday afternoon in a meeting on the Venezuelan crisis during the fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro sent the president of the National Assembly, Jorge Rodriguez, in his place while the opposition sent Gerardo Blyde.
Macron hopes the two-day forum will push the Maduro camp and the Venezuelan opposition to relaunch the Mexico diplomatic process, which has been stalled for a year.
This would include agreeing on the conditions for organising the next presidential election, theoretically scheduled for 2024.
"Negotiations between the regime and the opposition must resume as soon as possible in Mexico City, first with a humanitarian agreement and then, I hope, with political guarantees," the French President said on Thursday.
"We are going to do our best to be able to support this initiative, this peace work," he added.
A haven for dialogue?
"France can play a key role in the negotiation process," French Latin American MP Eléonore Caroit said, posting a photo on Twitter of her with the two negotiators and French ambassador to Caracas Romain Nadal.
The head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Albares, also met Rodriguez and Blyde in Paris, and gave his support to "the resumption of negotiations".
"The doors of Venezuela are open for the French people."
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