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February 19, 2004 (7:15 p.m. EST) No. 25

CANADA REITERATES SUPPORT FOR OAS AND CARTER CENTER EFFORTS IN VENEZUELA

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham today reiterated Canada's support for the Organization of American States (OAS) and The Carter Center in their efforts to observe the process of verification and validation of signatures that Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) is implementing to determine the possibility of recall referenda.

"Canada strongly supports the efforts of the OAS and The Carter Center in ensuring a transparent, legitimate and peaceful referendum process," said Minister Graham. "The rights of citizens are paramount, and we encourage the CNE to adopt measures to facilitate the maximum participation of Venezuelans in the democratic process of the country."

Since April 2002, Canada has repeatedly urged all parties to the process and sectors of Venezuelan society to find a peaceful, democratic, constitutional and electoral resolution of the political impasse, as called for by OAS member states.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Isabelle Savard
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(613) 995-1851
Media Relations Office
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(613) 995-1874
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca

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