Members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that senior figures from both sides had received separate invitations from a group of Norwegians and then departed to engage in what they described as “exploratory” discussions in Oslo, Reuters and the Associated Press both reported.
According to the officials, the representatives include Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez on the Venezuelan government’s side and Stalin Gonzalez, a leading member of the National Assembly, which is the now-defunct opposition-controlled congress.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tacitly pointed to bilateral talks in Oslo in his televised remarks on Wednesday, saying that Rodriguez was “completing a very important mission abroad,” without giving more details.
Norway’s Foreign Ministry said in March that it was ready to act as a mediator or facilitator of talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition.
The negotiations came amid a political stalemate after months of street demonstrations and an opposition call for a military uprising.
Venezuela has been shaken by political unrest in the past several months. In January, tensions worsened after opposition figure Juan Guaido, who is also president of the National Assembly, unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela.
The United States quickly accepted that self-proclamation and has since been working with Guaido.
Also on Wednesday, the Venezuelan president denounced the “violation” of the country’s embassy in Washington after anti-coup activists who were in the building in support of his government were handed an eviction notice by police.
The pro-Maduro activists, aiming to prevent representatives of the Venezuelan opposition from taking over the diplomatic mission, have been staying inside the embassy with the permission of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry since late April.