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Pope tamps down Maduro’s hopes for Vatican mediation in Venezuela

The Associated Press ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis on Tuesday acknowledged receiving a request from embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to help relaunch talks to end the country’s political crisis, but ruled out any involvement unless opposition leader Juan Guaido requests it.

Francis acknowledged that he had not read Maduro’s letter, which he said arrived at the Vatican via diplomatic pouch. He added, “We’ll see what can be done.”

But speaking to reporters en route home from the United Arab Emirates, he recalled that a previous Vatican diplomatic effort to facilitate talks between Maduro and the opposition “went up in smoke.” And he insisted on the basic diplomatic requirement that two sides to any conflict must jointly request external facilitation or mediation of negotiations.

“I’ll have a look at the letter, I’ll see what can be done. But the preliminary conditions are that both sides ask for it,” he told reporters, without citing Guaido by name.

However, Venezuela’s opposition, led by Guaido, has made it clear that any offers of dialogue must start with negotiating the terms of Maduro’s exit.Speech

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