CARACAS, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's government and opposition parties have agreed to try and find a negotiated solution to the political crisis plaguing the nation.
The Vatican's envoy to Caracas, Monsignor Emil Paul Tscherrig, said at a press conference Monday the two sides will sit down for talks on Sunday, with "the goal of moving past the economic, political and social juncture" in which the country finds itself.
"Today, national dialogue has begun at a meeting between representatives of the government and of the opposition, aiming to establish the conditions to call for a plenary meeting on Oct. 30 on Margarita Island," said Tscherrig, referring to the Caribbean resort in the western Nueva Esparta state.
The announcement came after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was on a tour of oil producing countries in the Middle East, met with Pope Francis earlier in the day, on his return trip to Caracas.
Maduro welcomed the announcement in a broadcast from Rome, aired by state-run VTV, and urged Venezuelans to support the talks.
"I have spoken with the pope at a private meeting ...and a table for dialogue has been set up in Venezuela ...I call on the entire population to support the table for dialogue...for peace," said Maduro.
A recent decision by Venezuela's electoral body (CNE) to suspend steps that could lead to a recall referendum against Maduro's presidency has fueled tensions between the ruling party and the conservative opposition.