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Emmanuel Macron briefly meets Nicolas Maduro on the sidelines of COP27

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Paris is reviewing its diplomacy vis-à-vis Caracas. Emmanuel Macron and the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro indeed had a brief exchange on Monday in the corridors of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, according to images provided by the Venezuelan presidency.

To justify this meeting, the Elysee Palace indicated on Tuesday evening that it wanted to relaunch negotiations between the government of Nicolas Maduro and the opposition, frozen since the failure of the last process in October 2021 in Mexico City. “We are trying to create momentum for the resumption of negotiations”. Emmanuel “Macron is trying to support him. This is the reason why he very briefly greeted Maduro,” explained the French presidency.

The Elysee Palace notes that the context has evolved

Paris does not officially recognize Nicolas Maduro as president of the South American country and France’s position remains unchanged for the time being, stressed the Elysée, while noting that the context had evolved with “a political reconfiguration” in Latin America and a softening of the American position vis-à-vis Caracas.

These comments also take place a few days before the holding of the Paris Peace Forum on Friday and Saturday, the fifth edition of which will focus on Latin America. In addition to the presence of Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Argentinian Alberto Fernandez, the forum plans to host talks between “Venezuelan negotiators”, according to the organization.

A dynamic deemed “carrying” by the opposition

The Forum seeks to “provide political support” to the Mexico process by “receiving” delegates from the government and the opposition, indicated Justin Vaïsse, director general of the Forum. In Egypt, Nicolas Maduro informed Emmanuel Macron that he would send to Paris the President of the National Assembly Jorge Rodriguez who led the official delegation in the negotiations in Mexico. A source from the Venezuelan opposition, for his part, confirmed the presence of Gerardo Blyde and considered that this event could serve as a prelude to the resumption of the dialogue undertaken in Mexico. “We are in a buoyant dynamic with a lot of potential that must be realized and on this basis we will see how we move our position” vis-à-vis Nicolas Maduro’s regime, she added.

The Elysée also highlighted the fact that France has always endeavored to maintain dialogue with all the parties: the French embassy has been maintained in Caracas and Paris has only taken “individual sanctions, unlike the Trumpian administration. In 2019, the United States imposed a series of sanctions, including an oil embargo. But with rising energy prices and migratory pressure, Washington seems willing to reconsider its position.

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