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Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 07:10 GMT


Congress statement: 'Vile and cowardly attack'

The Paraguayan parliament has issued a communique blaming the country's executive branch for the death of Vice-President Luis Maria Argana.

The communique, read out by Senator Paz Castaign and broadcast live by Paraguayan RPC TV, was signed by the boards of both houses of the National Congress and by congressional bloc leaders. Excerpts of the statement follow.

The statement said that parliament condemned "the vile and cowardly attack" on the life of Argana and his security guards, and urged "citizens to stage a peaceful mobilisation with the objective of ensuring the victory of democracy over the attacks perpetrated by this authoritarian and criminal regime that has unleashed a violence spiral that has already taken its first victims."

The statement on behalf of parliament also said: "It blames President Raul Cubas, and his accomplice, the coup leader Lino Oviedo - who is at large - for the perpetration of this political crime.

"It summons all citizens to attend the wake of the vice-president of the republic and to accompany his remains to the cemetery as a sign of mourning for this loss, and as an expression of support for democratic institutions.

"It denounces before the international community, particularly Mercosur (Southern Common Market) and the OAS (Organisation of American States), this political crime, which is part of a terrorist plan that is sponsored and encouraged by the Executive Branch that seeks to interrupt the normal functioning of democratic institutions with the ultimate objective of replacing them with a dictatorship.

"It reasserts that in compliance with the legitimate power bestowed on it by the people and within the framework of the constitution and the laws, the National Congress will adopt all the proper measures to restore the full enforcement of the rule of law."

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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