US eases oil sanctions on Venezuela as govt and opposition resume talks

US eases oil sanctions on Venezuela as govt and opposition resume talks
US eases oil sanctions on Venezuela as govt and opposition resume talks

Venezuela’s government and its opposition have agreed to create a United Nations-managed fund to finance health, food and education programs for the poor.

The US responded by easing some oil sanctions on the country in an effort to boost the newly restarted talks between the sides.

Venezuelan resources, held in the international financial system, will be directed to the new fund, but neither side said whether the US or European governments have agreed to allow frozen assets to be funnelled to the new mechanism.

The broad terms of the agreement for the social fund were announced by the head of a group of Norwegian diplomats guiding the negotiations.

Humanitarian crisis

“In line with UN norms and procedures, [the fund’s] objective would be to support the implementation of social protection measures for the Venezuelan people,” Dag Nylander, Norway’s chief facilitator, said.

“The parties have identified a set of resources belonging to the Venezuelan state frozen in the international financial system to which it is possible to progressively access, understanding the need to obtain the authorizations and approvals” from foreign institutions and organizations.

About 7 million people have left Venezuela amid a complex political and humanitarian crisis. Three-quarters of those who remain in the country live on less than €1.82 a day.

About €3 billion is expected to be progressively directed to the fund.

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The accord reached on Saturday in Mexcio City marked a breakthrough after 15 months of stalemate between the Nicolás Maduro government and his opposition.

International efforts to resolve the Venezuelan crisis have increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The US government will now allow oil giant Chevron to pump Venezuelan oil.

Venezuela holds the world’s largest oil reserves even as grinding poverty and an ongoing political crisis have led an UN-estimated seven million Venezuelans to flee the country in recent years.

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