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Netherlands Rejects Venezuelan Accusations

The Netherlands is rejecting repeated accusations from officials in Venezuela that it allows U.S. planes to use its islands in the Caribbean for spying and possible attacks.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said Friday the allegations are baseless. The Dutch foreign ministry, which already summoned the Venezuelan ambassador in The Hague over similar accusations last month, said it would do so again.

The statement said the Netherlands aspires to good relations with Venezuela.

The Netherlands has previously told Venezuela U.S. troops are only using the islands of Aruba and Curacao as a base for unarmed drug surveillance missions, as they have for years.

A few weeks ago, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez accused the Netherlands and the United States of planning what he called an act of aggression against Venezuela. Venezuela's government re-iterated those allegations this week.

Opponents of Mr. Chavez say he is using the issue to distract Venezuelans from economic problems, high levels of crime and poor infrastructure.

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