(NYT) As President Nicolás Maduro flew to Rome for a hastily arranged meeting with Pope Francis, representatives of Venezuela’s government and a leader of the opposition agreed on Monday to allow the Vatican to mediate a dialogue intended to solve the country’s political crisis.
The accord appeared to mark a pause in Venezuela’s escalating tension, which intensified last week when the country’s electoral council suspended the opposition’s drive for a referendum to recall Mr. Maduro.
This is the first time that the Vatican has succeeded in bringing representatives of the two sides together since it began attempts to intercede in May.
The first formal meeting between the two sides is scheduled for Sunday on Margarita Island. The pope’s envoy, Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, will preside over the gathering.
Jesús Torrealba, the secretary general of the coalition of opposition parties, met with government representatives on Monday and agreed to the Vatican’s mediation. But other opposition leaders did not attend the meeting, and it was unclear how united the opposition would be behind the dialogue. [More]