Brussels, Jan 24 (Sputnik) The European Union calls for immediate start of political process in Venezuela and condemns violence and excessive use of force at protests by security forces, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president. The United States urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down and let Guaido to assume the presidency. Maduro responded that Venezuela was severing diplomatic ties with the United States and giving 72 hours "to all diplomatic and consular staff of the United States to leave the country."
"The EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the Constitutional order," Mogherini said in a statement.
Mogherini stressed the European Union fully supported the national assembly "as the democratically elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected."
"Violence and the excessive use of force by security forces are completely unacceptable, and will for sure not resolve the crisis. The Venezuelan people have the right to peacefully demonstrate, to freely chose its leaders and decide its future," the statement read.
The foreign policy chief underlined that the European Union was ready to support "the restoration of democracy and rule of law in Venezuela through a credible peaceful political process in line with the Venezuelan constitution."