Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.

Richard Bruton

Question:

53 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has made his views known on the tense political situation in Venezuela; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15010/02]

The Presidency issued the following statement on behalf of the EU on 21 May:

The European Union has followed with concern the unfolding of political and social events in Venezuela which led to the violence which took place between 11 and 14 April 2002, and which caused a brief rupture of the constitutional order. The Union reiterates its regret at the loss of life and its condolences to the families of the victims and to the Venezuelan people.

The European Union welcomes the re-establishment of the democratic institutions in Venezuela, and the commitment made by President Chavez to seek the channels of dialogue and agreement necessary to enable the Venezuelan people to develop their democracy to the full. The European Union emphasises the importance which it attaches to the development of the rule of law and to the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In current circumstances, with a view to encouraging the necessary inclusive climate of tolerance and reconciliation, all political and social actors, as well as the media, must be capable of fulfilling their roles freely and responsibly. The European Union expresses its concern regarding actions taken against national and foreign economic interests, notably against citizens of member states of the EU who play an important part in the development of Venezuela. The EU takes a positive view of recent measures adopted by the Venezuelan authorities in favour of commercial enterprises affected by the recent events and hopes that President Chavez and the Government will give the necessary guarantees so that both Venezuelans and foreign residents may pursue their activities in a propitious climate. The European Union supports the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the efforts of the Organisation of American States regarding the situation in Venezuela. The European Union follows with interest and attention the situation in Venezuela and considers that the Second Summit between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean which took place on 16 and 17 May in Madrid has reinforced the democratic values and commitments which the two regions share.

Since that statement was issued by the European Union last month, the situation has remained tense in spite of some efforts at dialogue. It is earnestly to be hoped that the Venezuelan people will seek to resolve their problems and to achieve their objectives by exclusively peaceful, democratic and constitutional means.
Question No. 54 answered with Question No. 18.