Maduro is seeking a third term and will seek for the U.S. to lift its economic sanctions that were imposed over the last decade to topple him AFP

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday that he plans to continue dialogue with the U.S. ahead of the country's highly-anticipated elections.

Maduro is seeking a third term in and will seek for the U.S. government to lift its economic sanctions that were imposed over the last decade in an effort to topple him. He said the dialogue was "urgent" during his weekly TV show, Maduro +.

"After thinking about it, I have accepted and next Wednesday the talks will restart with the United States government to comply with the agreements signed in Qatar and to reestablish the terms of the dialogue with respect," he said in the broadcast.

Maduro's government had held parallel talks with the Biden administration and with the U.S.-backed Unitary Platform opposition coalition. But they were suspended as he reneged on promises, including to improve conditions ahead of the election, and his government accused the U.S. of not fulfilling portions of agreements, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, the U.S and Venezuela launched secret negotiations in Qatar. Ultimately, they agreed to a sweeping prisoner swap deal brokered by the Gulf state.

Washington released Maduro ally Alex Saab, who had been accused by the United States of money laundering for Caracas. In return, Venezuela handed over a fugitive named Leonard Francis, who was at the center of a U.S. Navy's high-profile corruption scandal.

"I want dialogue, I want understanding, I want a future for our relations, I want change," Maduro said in his broadcast. "Of course, under the absolute sovereignty and independence of Venezuela. Venezuela must be respected."

Following his announcement, it was not immediately clear where the upcoming round of dialogue will take place. The U.S. Department of State also did not immediately respond to Maduro's statement.

The Venezuelan elections are scheduled to be held this upcoming July 28. The contest's popularity among Venezuelans is shaping it to be one of the biggest challenges to the government since the United Socialist Party of Venezuela gained power in 25-year dominance than began with Hugo Chavez.

Ten candidates, including Maduro, will be on the ballot. But Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, who represents the opposition's Unitary Platform coalition and replaced beloved politician Maria Corina Machado on the party's ticket following her barring from the elections, is the only contender with a real chance of defeating the incumbent.

The announcement comes as tensions from both countries rise as the U.S. believes Venezuela has not met the promises stated in the Barbados agreement, which sought to ensure the upcoming elections were free and fair.

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