January 31, 2018 / 7:43 PM / a year ago

Venezuela government-opposition talks 'advance', no deal yet

FILE PHOTO: Julio Borges, president of Venezuela's National Assembly and lawmaker of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD), and members of Venezuela's opposition attend a meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - Talks between Venezuela’s government and the country’s political opposition are advancing, though no concrete agreement has yet been made, according to spokespeople from each side.

Few are expecting much from the talks, which are being held in the Dominican Republic. The government and the opposition have been in on-off talks for years to reach an agreement to ease the deep political and economic crisis in the oil-rich country.

Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s communications minister, said in a statement to the press on Wednesday that a “pre-agreement” had been signed, but gave no further details.

“Today is a day for joy, despite being long and arduous,” he said.

However, former opposition-led National Assembly president Julio Borges denied that a pre-deal had been signed.

“There are areas in which we have advanced and very important areas in which we have not advanced,” said Borges.

Both delegations will now return to Caracas for consultations, before resuming talks at an unspecified date in the Dominican Republic.

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place before April 30, a decision that has been rejected by the opposition.

Reporting by Jorge Pineda; Writing by Girish Gupta, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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