Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday invited delegates from the European Union (EU), UN and the governments of Argentina, Mexico and Panama to accompany his government’s conciliation talks with the opposition.

During a rally, President Maduro called on the regional governments and the international organisations to follow the process of the talks, as the two sides were trying on an agreement for holding legislative elections.

Maduro suggested that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres name a “commission” of electoral observers, “so they can be witnesses on the day the Venezuelan people recover their National Assembly”.

In 2019, the United States pressed all nations to “stand with the forces of freedom” in Venezuela that was encouraged by a tougher European line as Russia stood in the minority in backing embattled leader Nicolas Maduro.

Last year, Maduro’s re-election was contested by the opposition and rejected by the US, EU and UN as a sham – but he has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military.

“I want to go to elections where all the opposition takes part,” the President added.

Maduro had given US diplomats until to leave Venezuela. The United States said it was ignoring the order as it no longer considers Maduro the president – but withdrew non-essential staff and argued that Maduro still bore responsibility for diplomats’ safety.

(With inputs from agency)