|The European Union has
taken good note of the publication on 2 March 2004 by the National Electoral
Council (CNE) of the preliminary official results of the process of
verification of signatures and of the CNE's decision to organise an appeals
process in relation to those signatures which were provisionally rejected,
in the framework of the petition for a Recall Referendum concerning the
mandate of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The European Union recalls the contents of its
previous declaration, dated 23 February, 2004, and reiterates its full
support for the important statement made by the OAS and Carter Center
Missions to Venezuela in their joint declaration of 2 March, 2004.
The European Union shares the concern of
the OAS with regard to the application by the CNE of specific verification
criteria and their possible impact on the outcome of the process. No effort
should be spared, however, to enable the country to find a constitutional,
democratic, peaceful and electoral solution to its crisis. The European
Union encourages all parties involved to negotiate constructively towards
feasible, fair and transparent formulas for an appeals process which will
respect the constitutional rights, the sovereign will and the good faith of
The European Union deeply regrets the
development of a climate of violence, which has led to human casualties, and
calls on all parties to continue to strive for the implementation of the
agreement of 29 May 2003 in a climate of mutual respect, tolerance and
restraint, and to fully abide by the Declaration against Violence and for
Peace and Democracy of 18 February 2003, within the framework of the rule of
law and democratic principles.
The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech
Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak
Republic and Slovenia align themselves with this declaration.