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Chile's Bachelet, Venezuela's Chavez Agree to Ease Political Tensions

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have agreed to ease political tensions between their countries.

After talks in Caracas Wednesday, Ms. Bachelet said her country wants the best possible relations with Venezuela, while Mr. Chavez stressed the need for the two sides to resolve their differences.

Mr. Chavez presented his Chilean counterpart with the "Order of the Liberator" medal, one of Venezuela's highest honors. The sides signed several economic agreements, including a joint venture to help develop Venezuela's oil-rich Orinoco River basin.

Prior to her visit, Ms. Bachelet said she would tell Mr. Chavez to show respect for Chilean institutions. Last week, Mr. Chavez accused Chilean senators of being "fascists" after they criticized his decision to shut down a Venezuelan TV station critical of his government.

Ms. Bachelet did not mention the recent diplomatic spat in her comments Wednesday.

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