The Latest: Diplomats meet in Sweden to discuss Venezuela

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The latest on the political turmoil in Venezuela (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Officials say that Sweden is hosting talks between major powers with interests in Venezuela amid stalled mediation efforts in neighboring Norway.

A European diplomat said that representatives of the United Nations, the Vatican, Cuba and the European Union are among the parties attending the talks. He identified the E.U. representative as Enrique Iglesias.

He also said that Washington was joining the Stockholm meeting together with Moscow.

But an American official with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press that the U.S. wasn't taking part.

Both requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the issue.

A Venezuelan government source with knowledge of the talks considered them a waste of time because only low level diplomats were in attendance.


11 a.m.

Some Venezuelans are expressing skepticism about new banknotes that the government says will ease challenges posed by the country's soaring inflation.

Bolivar bills with larger denominations are supposed to start circulating Thursday, though there was no sign of them at some banks in the Venezuelan capital in Caracas.

The central bank says the bills of 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolivares will help make payments and transactions "more efficient." The biggest new bill is worth about $8.

But Caracas resident Rafael Gerardi says the measure will make it hard to get change.

"It's not logical," he said.

Venezuela's currency has such little value that people commonly use debit cards to avoid hauling large piles of already scarce cash to pay for basic goods.


Associated Press writers Aritz Parra in Madrid and Joshua Goodman in Bogota, Colombia contributed to this report.

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