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By AFP
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EU countries are drafting an appeal for Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro to convene quick elections, with some demanding recognition of Juan Guaido as interim president if he does not, diplomats said.

“We want an immediate call for elections in the near future,” one diplomat told AFP following a meeting of European Union ambassadors who discussed wording for a new and tougher declaration.

Another EU diplomat said France proposed organising elections in a week that would be monitored by international observers.

Both diplomats said several EU countries were proposing recognising Venezuela’s parliament president Guaido as interim president if Maduro failed to convene elections.

SUPPORT
Guaido, the opposition leader, has already self-declared himself president.

“The idea to condition the recognition has had many supporters,” the diplomat said, naming supporters as France, Germany, Britain and Denmark in addition to Spain.

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Spain’s foreign minister Josep Borrell earlier Friday publicly pushed the European Union to recognise Guaido as interim president if elections are not called rapidly.

The parliament would then organise the new elections in such a scenario, he said.

The diplomat said there is “strong support for a clear new EU signal” following one on Wednesday.

ENDORSED
Speaking on behalf of the 28-nation bloc, the EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the voice of the Venezuelan people “cannot be ignored” and called for “free and credible elections”.

But she did not mention a time frame and she stopped short of calling for Maduro’s ouster and endorsing Guaido.

The United States, Canada and major South American nations quickly backed Guaido, leaving Maduro increasingly isolated.



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