Delegates from both sides of Venezuela's political crisis have traveled to Norway for talks aimed at resolving the country's worsening political crisis.
The talks — understood to be exploratory — follow repeated failed dialogues between the opposition and the ruling Socialist Party.
Delegations from the government and opposition camps were said to have received separate invitations from a group of Norwegian mediators.
Venezuela's Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda Governor Hector Rodriguez are both believed to have traveled to Oslo. On the other side, opposition legislator Stalin Gonzalez was also understood to have made the trip, along with advisers.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not address the talks directly in televised remarks on Wednesday. However, he said Rodriguez was on a "very important" mission outside the country.
Washington halts flights
It's believed government officials held talks earlier this year on creating a transition government that did not include Maduro. Opposition calls for the Venezuelan military to rise up against Maduro on April 30 failed.
Military leaders have since sworn allegiance to Maduro, who described the April 30 events as a coup plot.
Meanwhile, the US suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights to and from Venezuela on Wednesday, claiming that political arrest in the country posed a risk.
The Department of Homeland Security said conditions in Venezuela "threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew," and said the flight suspension would continue indefinitely.
Since January, Venezuela has been caught in a power struggle. Juan Guaido, who is president of the National Assembly, declared himself acting president that month in a direct challenge to Maduro's rule.
The US immediately recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of the oil-rich, cash-strapped country. Shortly after, Germany and other Western countries also recognized him as Venezuela's leader. But Maduro's regime continues to enjoy support from Russia, China and Turkey, among others.
rc/cmk (Reuters, AP)