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Dutch Seek Explanation over Chavez Remarks


The Dutch government says it has asked Venezuela's ambassador to clarify remarks by President Hugo Chavez accusing the Netherlands of planning aggression against Venezuela.

The Dutch government says it has asked Venezuela's ambassador to clarify remarks by President Hugo Chavez accusing the Netherlands of planning aggression against Venezuela.

The comment Friday comes one day after President Chavez said the Netherlands was allowing the United States to use Dutch islands off Venezuela's Caribbean coast for a possible military attack against his country.

The Venezuelan leader provided no evidence to support his allegations, and State Department spokesman Ian Kelly Thursday told the Associated Press the allegations were "baseless."

The United States has long had a military presence on the self-governing Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao, with staff involved in counternarcotics and surveillance operations over the Caribbean.

Separately, Venezuela and Colombia have been at odds over an agreement allowing the U.S. to use seven Colombian military bases for anti-drug operations.

President Chavez has called the deal a threat to his country, but the U.S. and Colombia say the agreement does not pertain to other nations.

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

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