“Negotiations between the regime and the opposition must resume as soon as possible in Mexico City, first with a humanitarian agreement and then, I hope, with political guarantees,” the French president said on Thursday when he received the meeting. ‘Elysée his Argentinian counterpart Alberto Fernandez.

“We are going to do our utmost to be able to support this initiative, this peace work,” he added.

Emmanuel Macron, Alberto Fernandez and Colombian President Gustavo Petro are due to participate together late Friday afternoon in a meeting on the Venezuelan crisis during the fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum, where the main negotiators from each are present. camp. Nicolas Maduro dispatched to the Parisian capital the President of the National Assembly, Jorge Rodriguez, and the opposition, his representative Gerardo Blyde.

Objective: to push the Maduro camp and the Venezuelan opposition to relaunch the Mexico process, which has been stalled for a year. This would include agreeing on the conditions for organizing the next presidential election, theoretically scheduled for 2024.

– Macron-Maduro exchange –

The two emissaries began to discuss, meeting several intermediaries.

“France can play a key role in the negotiation process,” French Latin American MP Eléonore Caroit tweeted, posting a photo of her with the two negotiators and French Ambassador to Caracas Romain Nadal. who told him that he had “started the work” of the negotiations.

The head of Spanish diplomacy José Manuel Albares also met Jorge Rodriguez and Gerardo Blyde in Paris, and gave his support to “the resumption of negotiations”.

“We are convinced that the way forward for Venezuela is dialogue, the suspension of all illegal sanctions and respect for the Constitution,” said Nicolas Maduro’s representative on Twitter.

These emissaries of the two camps so far irreconcilable “will talk to each other and, I hope, agree on a method and the steps that will follow”, told AFP Pascal Lamy, who chairs the Forum on the peace.

However, he recalled that the relationship between them was “extremely acrimonious, tense, difficult”. We cannot therefore say what this dialogue will give, “it depends on the instructions on each side”, he warned.

In any case, Emmanuel Macron’s attempt at mediation is part of a context of relative international thaw with regard to the power of Caracas.

France, like the United States and a large number of other countries, had not recognized the re-election of Nicolas Maduro as president of the South American country in 2018, during a ballot in their eyes rigged. And in the process, they had supported opposition leader Juan Guaido when he declared himself interim president in early 2019.

But the multiple American-European sanctions, including an oil embargo from Washington, to push the socialist leader to leave have not borne the expected fruit, and the political weight of Juan Guaido has since greatly diminished.

Although it still considers President Maduro illegitimate, the United States reopened a channel of discussion with Caracas, and in May eased some of its sanctions.

Joe Biden’s US government has made no secret that Venezuelan hydrocarbons could be useful on the international market in the midst of the energy crisis due to the war led by Russia in Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron, he had a brief exchange with Nicolas Maduro on Monday in the corridors of the COP27 on the climate in Egypt.

Calling him “president”, the French head of state promises him, according to images seen by AFP, to call him back to “talk more extensively” and “engage in useful bilateral work for the region”.

The Elysée then clarified that Paris still did not recognize him as head of state of Venezuela, but was showing pragmatism. “We are trying to create a dynamic”, “it is with Nicolas Maduro and his regime that we must have a dialogue and that we will try to push for the resumption of negotiations” in order to lead “to fair and transparent elections”.