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Talks, Just Talks, Set in Venezuela

Talks aimed at ending Venezuela's ongoing crisis have been set. With the Vatican sitting as mediator, a coalition of opposition parties, and Nicolas Maduro's government, have agreed to the formal talks set to begin tomorrow in the South American nation. Some 39 people have been killed in anti-government protests since February. The opposition coalition has demanded any negotiations be in public and Maduro's VP Jorge Arreaza has confirmed the agreement to hold the talks in public. Yet, skepticism as to the genuineness of the government to real negotiations is called into question upon declarations by Maduro that: "This is not a negotiation, nor a deal with anyone. What we will have is a debate, a dialogue, which is different. Neither will we try and convert them to Bolivarian socialism, nor will they convert us to capitalism," the BBC attributed to Maduro. Why talks? Maduro appears adamant to continue his mode of government that has brought critical shortages of basic household supplies to Venezuela. One of the opposition coalition members, the Popular Will party of jailed leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has expressed skepticism about the formal talks. From jail, Lopez sent a statement that he believes "deeply in dialogue, but in a dialogue of equals." The Popular Will party has threatened to boycott the talks unless Lopez is released from jail. The foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador are also expected to attend the meetings mediated by the Holy See.