President Jimmy Carter said Jan.21 he had proposed an agreement
on elections to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his opponents
that he thought could help end the country's long-running political
crisis, according to news reports.
after talks with Chavez in Caracas that his plan included an end
to the seven-week-old oil strike that is crippling the economy of
the world's No. 5 oil exporter. Strike leaders have been calling
for the populist president to resign and hold early elections.
is that both sides now want to reach an agreement to end the impasse,"
Carter told a news conference. "I think this is a step in a
positive direction, but certainly not a definitive answer."
outlined at the news conference, comprised two alternatives:
One was for
an amendment to Venezuela's constitution that would trigger early
elections. The other was for the country to wait until Aug. 19,
halfway through Chavez's term, when the Constitution allows for
a binding referendum on the president's rule, which is due to end
in early 2007.