Norway said it will mediate discussions this week in Oslo, in an indication that the negotiation track is gaining momentum after months of escalating tension between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, the U.S.-backed opposition leader. Top Maduro aide Jorge Rodríguez and Héctor Rodríguez, the governor of Miranda state, both of whom were in Oslo earlier this month for an earlier round of exploratory talks, will once again lead the government delegation.
Norway hosted a meeting of Venezuelan government and opposition delegates in mid-May. After that session, Guaidó downplayed the importance of the visit by his envoys to Norway.
Venezuela was rocked by protests in January when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycott by the opposition. Tensions climbed on Jan. 23 when Juan Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president, but Maduro has so far refused calls to step down.
For the third time this year, the U.S.' attempt to remove democratically elected President Maduro from power has turned out to be a bust. After an uprising in Venezuela quickly fizzled out, President Maduro blamed the U.S. government of orchestrating a coup attempt against his country. Maduro has thwarted the latest coup attempt against his government, as Guido's call on the military appeared not to have triggered a wider revolt. The military has so far supported the country's democratically elected Maduro and refused to back Guaido. Maduro has called Guaidó a U.S-backed "puppet" that seeks to oust him in a coup.