Interview: Venezuela's top official says opposition party should rejoin national dialogue

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-13 13:50:32|Editor: liuxin
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by Pei Jianrong, Victoria Arguello

CARACAS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- In an interview with Xinhua, President of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC) Delcy Rodriguez called on the opposition coalition to resume dialogue in order to overcome the country's political crisis.

The opposition coalition, known by its Spanish acronym MUD, walked away from dialogue in December, accusing the government of violating previous agreements, including failing to recognize the legitimacy of the opposition-controlled National Assembly or congress.

In addition, the MUD said the government was "unwilling" to release alleged political prisoners or hold general elections, two of the opposition's main demands.

It also boycotted in July elections of the ANC which it claimed would usurp power of the congress.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a constituent assembly in May to amend the constitution in a bid to overcome the political crisis that paralyzed the country. The ANC opened for its first session in early August.

"We have held more than 100 meetings with the Venezuelan opposition, and we have permanently attended this forum for dialogue," said Rodriguez.

"Dialogue has always been present on the part of President Maduro, who has permanently insisted on dialogue as the only path for Venezuela. There is no other path, war cannot be the path for our country," she added.

Rodriguez called for resuming the national dialogue and the participation of the MUD.

The ANC backs a government proposal requesting the two sides to return to dialogue, and has drafted a "harmonious coexistence agreement" to help achieve the goal, she said.

The agreement addresses a main opposition concern that the ANC would occupy the legislative building.

"The harmonious coexistence proposal came from the constituents ... we have allowed them to hold their sessions in the hemicycle," or the legislative hall, said Rodriguez.

"We are waiting for the opposition, which I hope isn't solely relying on the U.S. embargo or the European embargo" to drive out the ruling socialist party, she said, referring to economic sanctions imposed by Washington.

Hopefully, "they can think of Venezuela and understand that Venezuelan issues should be resolved by us Venezuelans, without any kind of foreign interference," she said.