BRUSSELS May 15 European Union foreign
ministers urged Venezuelan authorities to hold elections and
release political prisoners to help end six weeks of
demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro that have killed
dozens of people.
In the EU's most outspoken reaction yet to events in
Venezuela, the ministers said 10 months of efforts to resolve
the crisis were "stagnant" and elections were a way out.
"Violence and the use of force will not resolve the crisis,"
they said in a statement.
There was no immediate response from the Information
Ministry in Caracas to a request for comment.
At least 39 people have died since April in the unrest,
including protesters, government sympathizers, bystanders, and
security forces. Hundreds have also been hurt and arrested.
The European Union called for "the establishment of an
electoral calendar so that the people ...can express their will
in a democratic way," the ministers said.
It urged "the release of jailed political opponents," after
Maduro imprisoned leading opposition figures.
Some 600,000 European citizens live a country also facing
its fourth year of a brutal recession.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by John Stonestreet)