France calls for credible international mediation to end Venezuela crisis


PARIS, May 18 (Reuters) - France called on Thursday for a
regional or international mediation to be set up between the
Venezuelan government and opposition groups to end the worsening
violence in the oil producing nation.
    Hundreds of thousands of people have come onto the streets
across Venezuela since early April to demand elections, freedom
for jailed activists, foreign aid and autonomy for the
opposition-led legislature.
    On Wednesday, the government said it was sending 2,000
soldiers to a border state that is a hotspot of anti-government
radicalism after looting that killed a 15-year-old in the latest
unrest roiling the nation. [nL2N1IJ238]
    "For France, alongside its European partners, the priority
is the immediate end of violence through the support of a
credible regional or international mediation that has the trust
of both parties - government and opposition - to help restore
dialogue and stability," Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal
told reporters in a daily briefing.
    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned
on Wednesday that if the situation was left to escalate it could
lead to a major international crisis like in Syria.

 (Reporting by John Irish, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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