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Ecuadorian Government, Protesters Preparing to Talk


Leaders of the protests that all but shut down Ecuador's oil industry for the past week are preparing to engage in talks with the country's government.

Protest leaders say they have suspended the demonstrations in order to talk, restoring calm in the country's northeast, where two provinces remain under a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, Venezuela says it will lend crude oil to Ecuador.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday his country will assume Ecuador's oil commitments at no cost. Most Ecuadorian oil exports go to the United States.

The protesters sabotaged oil facilities in a demand for jobs and infrastructure improvements.

Ecuador's state-run oil firm, Petroecuador, which usually produces over 200,000 barrels of oil a day, produced only 33,000 during the protests on Saturday.

Government officials say it will take until at least October for normal production to be resumed.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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