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Spain Seeking Quick End to Spat With Venezuela


Spain says it is hoping for a swift resolution to a diplomatic spat with Caracas over a confrontation in which Spain's King Juan Carlos told Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to "shut up."

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos made his comments before senators in Madrid Tuesday, saying he hoped "diplomatic normality" will resume in a short period of time.

The dispute started last week during an Ibero-American summit of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking leaders in Santiago, Chile. At Saturday's closing session, Mr. Chavez tried repeatedly to interrupt a speech by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. That's when King Juan Carlos turned to Mr. Chavez and tried to silence him.

Mr. Zapatero was criticizing Mr. Chavez for calling former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a fascist.

The Venezuelan leader has suggested King Juan Carlos had prior knowledge of a 2002 coup in Venezuela.

Mr. Chavez says Spain's ambassador showed support for the coup plotters who ousted him for two days in 2002. Mr. Chavez says he thought the ambassador had acted with the king's approval.

Separately, Mr. Chavez said Tuesday that while Spain has many investments in Venezuela, the South American country does not need them.

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