Venezuela's foreign minister said Monday that the government of President Nicolas Maduro sees dialogue with the opposition as the way to end the threat of civil war, the dream of only small minority faithful to a conservative sector of the United States.

Willingness to hold talks "exists in a large part of the opposition," where there are also "those who dream of an armed conflict, of a civil war that, thanks be to God and to the will of the majority of our people, we don't want," Elias Jaua told Globovision TV.

The minister said the government is waiting for the opposition, unified in the MUD coalition, to take the next step and have talks with the president, a possibility urged by a mission of foreign ministers representing the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, who visited the country last week.

Unasur thus became "a catalyzing element of a willingness to dialogue" that is present among the majority on both sides, Jaua said.

"The president has said: 'Let us dialogue unconditionally, without previous agendas, to halt the irrational violence that has left the country with its terrible balance of almost 40 men and women of our homeland killed," he said.

Of the 39 confirmed deaths since the anti-government protests began Feb. 12, Jaua acknowledged that four may be attributed to members of the security forces.

He said that most of the fatalities have been people who were not involved in the demonstrations.

The government is "waiting" for the MUD to show its separation from radical groups so that a dialogue can begin that does not seek to make their differences disappear, but will discuss them in an atmosphere of "democratic dissent," Jaua said. EFE