US says Maduro’s departure must be focus of Intra-Venezuelan talks

WASHINGTON (Sputnik): The United States hopes that participants of the upcoming next round of talks between Caracas and Venezuelan opposition in Norway would concentrate exclusively on conditions of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation.

“Free elections cannot be overseen by a tyrant. As we have repeatedly stated, we believe the only thing to negotiate with Nicolas Maduro is the conditions of his departure.”

“We hope the talks in Oslo will focus on that objective, and if they do, we hope progress will be possible,” the State Department said in a press statement, published on its official website late on Saturday.   

On Saturday, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said that Oslo would host a second round of consultations between main Venezuelan actors next week.

The first meeting between Maduro’s representatives and the opposition was held in Norway on May 16.

After Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself interim Venezuelan president, contesting Maduro’s victory in last year’s presidential election, the United States immediately backed Guaido’s claim and urged Maduro to step down.

Caracas and Moscow, which has supported the Venezuelan president in this crisis along with numerous other countries, have repeatedly expressed concerns that Washington might resort to military options to remove Maduro from power.