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Venezuela will resume negotiations with the United States this week as part of an effort to reverse sanctions against the South American country, less than a month before a closely-watched presidential election in which he and his party face their toughest challenge in decades, the Associated Press reported.

President Nicolas Maduro, who is running for a third term, announced that after two months of consideration, he accepted a US proposal to reestablish talks, which are set to begin Wednesday.

The president wants Washington to lift crippling economic sanctions imposed over the past decade to topple him, adding that the dialogue is “urgent.”

The Biden administration did not comment on the announcement.

Previous negotiations with the US and the US-backed opposition coalition, the Unitary Platform, stalled following disputes over unfulfilled agreements and pre-election conditions. Talks were also held in Qatar, but the location for the latest round remains unclear.

Maduro’s comments come as Venezuelans prepare to vote in presidential elections on July 28.

Observers said polls pose a significant challenge to Maduro and his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which has dominated the oil-rich nation in some form for nearly two decades. But the PSUV’s voter base has become disillusioned and divided after dealing with economic and political crises during Maduro’s 11-year presidency.

Voters will have to pick between 10 candidates, including Maduro. Observers said Edmundo González Urrutia, who represents the Unitary Platform, is seen as the only contender with a real chance of defeating Maduro.

Last year, Maduro agreed with the opposition to work toward improving conditions for a free and fair election. Following that agreement, the US granted sanction relief to Venezuela’s state-run oil, gas, and mining sectors.

But Maduro reneged on some of his promises following the rising popularity of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado. Venezuelan authorities blocked Machado and her substitute from running in the race, prompting the opposition to rally behind González.

In response, the Biden administration reimposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in April, saying Maduro and his officials “have not fully met the commitments made under the electoral roadmap agreement.”

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