By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has ruled out any further talks with the government, following the death of a retired naval officer in custody over an alleged coup plot.
Representatives of President Nocolas Maduro and his rival Guaido were expected to hold a second round of discussions soon at Oslo, under the Norwegian government initiative.
The first round of discussions held in May had ended in a stalemate.
“Another round of negotiation is conditional. We need to discuss the murder of jailed Lieutenant Commander Rafael Acosta Arevalo,” Colombian newspaper the El Heraldo quoted Guaido, telling the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Guaido was speaking to lawmakers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly that met to discuss the suspicious death of the retired naval officer Rafael Acosta Arevalo.
“For democrats, there is never a time to negotiate with hostage-takers, human rights abusers, or with a dictatorship... We are facing a deadly dictatorship,” he said.
Guaido’s declaration has virtually put an end to the Norwegian initiative, to bring the two factions on the table, to explore a solution to the crises in Venezuela.
Last week, the naval officer along with several others was arrested and charged with treason, for allegedly plotting to overthrow Maduro from power. He died on Sunday in custody, under mysterious circumstances.
On the same day, President Maduro expressed hope that talks with the opposition in Oslo will yield an agreement.
“We are going to achieve a great agreement in 2019, Maduro said, while speaking at a political event.
Venezuelan media outlets also quoted Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza as saying that the government was waiting for the opposition to resume meetings in Norway.
The oil rich South American nation is facing a major political crisis since January when President Maduro started second term in office. The opposition politicians refused to accept results of the elections.
Guaido -- leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly -- declared himself the interim president. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, and the country’s economy is largely tied to its oil wealth.