CARACAS, Venezuela, April 8 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has agreed to meet with opposition leaders for the first time since protests began in February.
The meeting was proposed by the Union of South American Nations, a regional group modeled after the European Union.
On Tuesday, Maduro met with senior officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia regarding peace talks for over an hour. Afterward, the president announced he was prepared to offer a "very positive message of peace."
Opposition parliamentarian Pedro Pablo Fernandez said that UNASUR is "a third party with which the government and the opposition have sat down and have had a rather positive attitude from the start."
The protests have left 39 people dead, with casualties on both the pro-government and pro-opposition sides. Maduro's government has blamed foreign-backed "fascists" for the unrest while the opposition has claimed the security forces were to blame for the violence.
There was no further information regarding the timing of when the UNASUR-brokered talks will be held.