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Spain Seeks to End Tensions With Venezuela


The Spanish government has sought to end tensions with Venezuela after President Hugo Chavez said he would review his country's ties with Spain.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters in Madrid Thursday that Spain will defend its interests without more unnecessary gestures.

President Chavez said Wednesday that he was reviewing political, diplomatic and economic ties with Madrid, after Spanish King Juan Carlos publicly told Mr. Chavez to "shut up."

The incident happened 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 who was criticizing him for calling former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a fascist.

That is when King Juan Carlos turned to Mr. Chavez and tried to silence him.

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. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has said Spain is hoping for a swift resolution to the dispute.

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

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