Dominican President Danilo Medina has announced that dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the country's right-wing opposition has entered a stage of indefinite recess given that an agreement has not been signed by the latter.
Medina said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed "the desire to continue dialogue."
The Dominican leader explained that the opposition delegation "did not understand" that the signing of the final peace agreement would be on Tuesday, while the Venezuelan government did come to the meeting with the intention of signing the document in the presence of international observers.
Earlier, the lead mediator between Venezuela's government and opposition has called on both sides to live up to their "historic responsibility," as the fate of the accord being negotiated in the Dominican Republic remains unclear.
Former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero confirmed Wednesday that an agreement, which included details on electoral dates, observers and guarantees, the economic situation and a truth commission was on the table, but that the opposition delegation headed by opposition legislator Julio Borges "raised the need to provide observations," while the government was ready to sign the document.
Zapatero did however acknowledge that the opposition's "decision-making process" was more complicated, given the number of groups involved.
“I want to point out that the opposition is made up of several parties and their decision-making process is more complex. We have to understand that,” said Zapatero.
The former European leader said that a conclusion to the talks were important "for peace in Venezuela" and urged the leaders to arrive at a signed agreement. He also stressed that any alternative to an agreement between the government and the opposition would be "extraordinarily negative for Venezuela and maybe a large part of Latin America.”
"What is the alternative to an agreement?," Zapatero told reporters, “Nobody, inside or outside Venezuela, has proposed an alternative plan to a reasonable agreement regarding an electoral process and peaceful co-existence.”
On Tuesday, Venezuelan government representative Jorge Rodriguez stressed that all the demands requested by the opposition are reflected in the agreement while expressing regret that a phone call by the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to opposition leaders earlier Tuesday had stalled the talks.
Rodriguez pointed out that only two points requested by the opposition, which deal with electoral guarantees and an electoral schedule, had to be agreed on and added to the document. The government asked for two points, one on the Esequiba region and another on recognition of electoral results to be included.
For his part, Borges said upon arriving at the meeting that "there is no agreement," but that dialogue would continue.
Medina called on the two sides to hold further talks Wednesday morning.
"We have prepared a document that includes the recommendations the opposition has requested, and we will receive them tomorrow at 10 a.m."
The talks take place as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continues a tour of Latin America, where U.S. policy on Venezuela has been at the center of the agenda.
During his visit in Argentina, Tillerson and Argentina's foreign minister spoke openly about an embargo on Venezuelan oil purchases while Colombian President Santos, speaking as Tillerson arrived in the country, said it would be "impossible" to recognize Venezuelan election results.
Santos reportedly called the Venezuelan opposition delegation asking the right-wing lawmakers to hold off on approving the deal.
Venezuelan government representatives have accused the United States of attempting to "sabotage" the talks, claiming that the opposition was receiving instructions from the Trump administration.
The mediation sessions have been attended and observed by Dominican President Medina, Zapatero and international delegates from Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Despite the lack of clarity on the outcome of the dialogues, preparations towards presidential elections in the country continue.
Four opposition candidates have been approved by Venezuelan electoral authorities so far, and two more are being processed.
Maduro has urged the National Constituent Assembly and National Electoral Council to set a date for the upcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place before April 30. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, has formally selected Maduro as its candidate.