Talks seem for Venezuela, but little confidence

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a meeting with a South American delegation of foreign ministers at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. The foreign ministers representing the Union of South American Nations or UNASUR arrived Tuesday aiming to ease political tensions and facilitate dialogue between Venezuela's government and opponents who are urging Maduro's resignation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is poised to sit down with members of the opposition for the first time since a bloody protest movement sprung to life here last month. But few observers think the talks will bring about reconciliation.

While moderate Venezuelans may be ready for the unrest to end, hardliners on both sides continue to reject compromise.

Maduro on Thursday accepted the idea of a good-faith facilitator, possibly Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Parolin was the Holy See's ambassador to Venezuela before becoming the pope's number two last year.

Critics of the socialist administration have pressed for Vatican involvement. Shortly before he was arrested, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez wrote an open letter to Pope Francis asking him to guide the country.