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Maduro halts talks with opposition to protest US sanctions

August 8, 2019
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, center, and first lady Cilia Flores, wave to supporters as they leave the National Pantheon after attending a ceremony to commemorate an 1800's independence battle, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Sweeping new U.S. sanctions freeze all of the Maduro government's assets in the U.S. and even threaten to punish companies from third countries that keep doing business with his socialist administration. The first couple is accompanied by Defense Minister Gen. Padrino Lopez. (AP Photo/Leonardo Fernandez)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, center, and first lady Cilia Flores, wave to supporters as they leave the National Pantheon after attending a ceremony to commemorate an 1800's independence battle, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Sweeping new U.S. sanctions freeze all of the Maduro government's assets in the U.S. and even threaten to punish companies from third countries that keep doing business with his socialist administration. The first couple is accompanied by Defense Minister Gen. Padrino Lopez. (AP Photo/Leonardo Fernandez)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s government says it will not attend a planned round of talks with the opposition this week to protest the Trump administration’s freezing of its assets in the U.S.

In a statement Wednesday night, President Nicolas Maduro’s government said it was also reviewing the mechanics of the Norway-sponsored talks to guarantee their future effectiveness.

The decision comes just hours before the next round of talks was set to begin Thursday on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Little information has been disclosed about the talks that started in May. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó has demanded Maduro step down and pave the way for a presidential election under foreign observation and with a revamped electoral council.

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