U.S. envoy says top Venezuelan officials negotiated to help restore order

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams arrives for a news conference at U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said on Tuesday opposition-led protests in Caracas were part of a broader effort negotiated with three senior officials in President Nicolas Maduro’s government to restore constitutional order.

Abrams, speaking to reporters at the State Department, said the talks involved Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno and presidential guard commander Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dela about restoring democracy in the country.

“There have been some interesting negotiations among Venezuelans inside the regime and outside the regime about returning to the constitution,” Abrams said. “They negotiated for a long time the means of restoring democracy but it seems that today they are not going forward,” he added.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Jonathan Oatis