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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Says He Will Return to US


Venezuela's foreign affairs minister says he plans to return to the United States at the end of the week, despite being detained at a New York airport for 90 minutes Saturday.

Nicolas Maduro told reporters Wednesday he must return to New York for meetings at the United Nations Thursday and Friday. He said he met Tuesday with U.S. ambassador William Brownfield to discuss the details of the Saturday incident. Maduro says police threatened to beat him while he was being held, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says there was no evidence that Maduro was mistreated.

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

The U.S. State Department has apologized for the incident.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said Venezuela would respond with what he called "equal treatment" if the incident were repeated.

Ties between the United States and Venezuela have been strained in recent years. Last week, President Chavez called President Bush "the devil" during a speech to the United Nations.

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

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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