Venezuelan Government Says Talks With Opposition Halted Over Saab’s Extradition to US

© REUTERS / LEONARDO FERNANDEZ VILORIAPeople gather in support of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and Venezuelan government envoy who was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on charges of money laundering, in Caracas, Venezuela October 17, 2021.
People gather in support of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and Venezuelan government envoy who was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on charges of money laundering, in Caracas, Venezuela October 17, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.10.2021
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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - The Venezuelan government is suspending its participation in talks with the opposition over the extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab from Cape Verde to the United States, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela Jorge Rodriguez has announced.
"Our delegation announces that it is suspending its participation in the dialogue at the negotiations table. Consequently, we will not attend the round that was to begin tomorrow, October 17, in Mexico City, as a profound expression of our protest against the brutal aggression against … our delegate Alex Saab," Rodriguez said in a Saturday statement broadcast by VTV.
Saab, who had been detained in Cape Verde since June 2020, left the country on Saturday aboard a plane bound for the United States. Venezuelan Vice President of Communication, Culture and Tourism Alfred Nazareth called Saab’s extradition "kidnapping" and accused Cape Verde of violating Saab’s human rights for nearly 500 days, during his arbitrary detention without an arrest warrant or due process.
Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela January 11, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.10.2021
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Saab was en route to Iran on a humanitarian mission for the Venezuela government when he was arrested during a fuel stop in Cape Verde last year, on a US extradition warrant connected to accusations of Iran sanctions violations. In September, the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde rejected an appeal by Saab's lawyers, thereby supporting his extradition to the United States.
Also last month, the Venezuelan government officially included Saab in its delegation to the talks with the opposition.
The Venezuelan government and the opposition signed a memorandum to seek the resolution of the ongoing political crisis in the country on August 13. The memorandum was signed at the first round of negotiations between the government and the opposition in Mexico City. The third round of talks concluded at the end of September.
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