Venezuela talks in Norway must focus on Maduro departure: US

The US says the only thing to negotiate with Venezuela's government is the departure of President Nicolas Maduro, seen here in a handout photo released by the Miraflores presidential palace press (AFP Photo/HO)

Washington (AFP) - Talks in Norway between Venezuela's government and the US-backed opposition should focus only on President Nicolas Maduro's removal, Washington said Tuesday.

"We note the talks in Norway. As we have repeatedly stated, the United States believes the only thing to negotiate with Nicolas Maduro is the conditions of his departure," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.

"While previous efforts to negotiate have failed because the regime has used them to divide the opposition and gain time, we hope that the talks in Oslo will focus on the departure of Maduro as a precondition for progress," Ortagus said.

President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly ruled out dialogue with Maduro, a leftist firebrand who presides over a crumbling economy.

But Norway succeeded in arranging talks between Maduro's government and Juan Guaido -- recognized as interim president by the United States and more than 50 other countries -- after an opposition-led uprising last month fizzled out.