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Opposition supporters hold candles while participating in a candlelight rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins(reuters_tickers)
PARIS (Reuters) - France called on Thursday for a regional or international mediation to be set up between the Venezuelan government and opposition groups to end the worsening violence in the oil producing nation.
Hundreds of thousands of people have come onto the streets across Venezuela since early April to demand elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign aid and autonomy for the opposition-led legislature.
On Wednesday, the government said it was sending 2,000 soldiers to a border state that is a hotspot of anti-government radicalism after looting that killed a 15-year-old in the latest unrest roiling the nation.
"For France, alongside its European partners, the priority is the immediate end of violence through the support of a credible regional or international mediation that has the trust of both parties - government and opposition - to help restore dialogue and stability," Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told reporters in a daily briefing.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Wednesday that if the situation was left to escalate it could lead to a major international crisis like in Syria.
(Reporting by John Irish, editing by Pritha Sarkar)