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Obama administration welcomes dialogue in Venezuela

Spain's former President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, center, is escorted by Venezuelan congressmen including Timoteo Zambrano, left, and Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup, second left, after their meeting, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The Spanish ex-president is in Venezuela to mediate between the Nicolas Maduro government and the opposition. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
May 20, 2016 - 1:11 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela - The Obama administration and governments in Latin America are encouraging efforts by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to defuse an increasingly tense standoff in Venezuela

Zapatero said in a visit to Caracas this week that President Nicolas Maduro and leaders of the opposition expressed a willingness to launch a national dialogue aimed at resolving the country's challenges.

It's unclear what the next steps will be but the U.S. State Department on Friday said it welcomes the initiative as a way to guarantee respect for the Venezuelan people and the rule of law. The foreign ministries of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay also made a call for dialogue.

Zapatero's peacemaking follows a week of violent clashes between security forces and the opposition who are demanding Maduro's ouster.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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