Vatican asked to mediate in Venezuelan crisis

Venezuela-born Vatican’s Secretary of State is invited to mediate in breakthrough talks between the government and the opposition

Venezuela-born Vatican’s Secretary of State is invited to mediate in breakthrough talks between the government and the opposition

ROMA – The Vatican has been asked by the Venezuelan government to mediate in crisis talks with opposition leaders to take place on Thursday, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Venezuelan-born Pietro Parolin, Vatican’s former ambassador to Venezuela and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is invited to mediate in breakthrough talks, according to ANSA.

At least 39 people have died since the beginning of anti-government protests over two months ago. 

Noticias24 news website reported Wednesday that the government agreed to a key demand set by the opposition that the talks be broadcast live on television and radio.

The Vatican’s ambassador in Karakas Aldo Giordano will also participate in the talks, Vatican officials said.

Anti-government protests in a number of Venezuelan cities have now entered their third month, sparked initially by a student protest in the western city of San Cristóbal but which later spread to a string of other cities, including the capital.

Anti-government protesters have called for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, while demanding an end to the country's soaring crime rate, the world's worst rate of inflation and the lack of essential products.

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