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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Calls for Investigation of Airport Incident


Venezuela's foreign minister has rejected a U.S. apology for an incident at a New York airport during which he was detained by security personnel.

Nicolas Maduro said Sunday he was detained at John F. Kennedy airport for an hour and a half after he tried to board a flight to Venezuela on Saturday. He said police threatened to beat him and he said he holds the U.S. government responsible.

The U.S. State Department said the incident was regrettable and apologized to Maduro and to Venezuela.

The Department of Homeland Security said there was no evidence that Maduro was mistreated at the airport.

Officials said the incident started when Maduro began to complain after he was asked to go through a routine, secondary security screening.

Ties between Washington and Venezuela's anti-American government have been strained in recent years.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called U.S. President George W. Bush "the devil" during his speech to the United Nations.

Mr. Chavez has accused the U.S. of plotting against him and his government, a charge denied by U.S. officials.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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