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Norwegian mediators arrive in Venezuela to boost crisis talks
[CARACAS] Representatives from Norway are in Venezuela to try to kick-start crisis talks between the government and opposition, parliament speaker Juan Guaido said on Wednesday.
Negotiations to end the political crisis sparked when opposition leader Mr Guaido pronounced himself acting president in January, began in Oslo in May.
But President Nicolas Maduro called off the talks a week ago in response to new United States sanctions against his government.
"There's no programed date" to restart the talks, "but yes, representatives of... Norway are here," said Mr Guaido.
They are "persisting with the negotiation mechanism," he said.
The US is one of more than 50 countries to have recognised Mr Guaido as interim president.
Mr Guaido made his claim after the opposition-controlled legislature branded Mr Maduro a "usurper" over his re-election last year in a poll widely viewed as rigged.
Mr Guaido wants Mr Maduro to step down so new elections can be held, but the socialist leader has dismissed that demand out of hand.
Last week, Mr Maduro did leave room for the talks to recommence, and Mr Guaido says the government delegates will come back to the negotiating table "sooner or later".
Talks began in Oslo in May before being moved to Barbados where several rounds have been held since the start of July.
In addition to the political standoff, Venezuela is suffering one of the worst economic crises in its history with a quarter of its 30 million population in need of aid, according to the United Nations.