Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has confirmed he sent representatives to Norway to join mediation efforts to resolve the crisis in his South American country, but he denied direct talks are taking place with President Nicolas Maduro's government.
"There are some envoys in Norway," Guaido told a rally of his supporters in Caracas on May 16.
He said that parties in Norway were attempting to mediate the crisis, but he said no agreements have been reached and no face-to-face talks with government representatives were being held.
"There is no kind of negotiation. It is an effort by Norway for a mediation, which has been going on for months. This was the second invitation to Oslo. All the rest is speculation," the Venezuelan daily El Nacional quoted Guaido as saying.
It was the first official confirmation that efforts were under way in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, to end the months-long power struggle between Maduro's socialist government and the opposition-led National Assembly.
"We can neither confirm nor deny Norway's involvement in peace processes or dialogue initiatives," Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde told the AFP news agency.
Maduro, backed by Russia, China, and Cuba, took office in 2013 and was sworn in for a second term in January following elections in May 2018 that were marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.
Maduro has been criticized for alleged human rights abuses and for his handling of Venezuela's economy.
Guaido, who leads the National Assembly, declared himself interim president in January, and won support from major powers, including the United States and more than 50 other countries.
Guaido Confirms Norway Mediation, But Says No Direct Talks With Venezuela Government