Venezuelan FM thanks Norway for its support on dialogue

By Andreina Itriago

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – The Norwegian government confirmed Friday that it had preliminary contacts with representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela.

The talks were in an “exploratory phase, with the aim of supporting the search for a solution to the situation in the country", Norway’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

The news was also conveyed earlier in the day by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who thanked Norway on Twitter for its support for a "dialogue for peace and sovereignty".

The previous afternoon, Arreaza participated in a meeting with President Nicolas Maduro and representatives of the International Contact Group of the European Union at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

On Tuesday, Arreaza said on Twitter that the 1.5 billion euros being blocked by Portugal’s Novo Bank at the request of the U.S. government is needed for importing items such as medicine and medical supplies, food, industrial inputs, seeds, fertilizers and auto parts.

The same day, during a meeting Arreaza held with Hugo Shorter, director for the Americas at the UK Foreign Affairs Office, Shorter conveyed his country’s willingness to help reach a peaceful political solution to the polarization in Venezuela, which had been exacerbated due to the financial blockade imposed by the United States, according to an official press release.

During the week, Shorter also met separately with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and the Contact Group.

A new episode on Thursday led to increased tensions with the U.S.

Following the eviction and subsequent detention of four Maduro supporters who had remained holed up at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington D.C., Arreaza said the Venezuelan government was evaluating responses under international law based on the principle of reciprocity.

For several weeks, the activists sought to prevent the ambassador appointed by Guaido from occupying his position.

Arreaza said the U.S. government has violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention and violated the human rights of the activists, who were "protecting" the diplomatic headquarters.

But not all of the focus this week was in the U.S.

Earlier, Arreaza also attacked Colombia, another country opposed to the Maduro government, over the murder of anthropologist Luis Manuel Salamanca Galindez. He said according to the UN, in 2019 alone, 51 social leaders have been killed in the neighboring country.

*Maria Paula Trivino contributed to this story