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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Venezuela recalls envoy to Peru
Presidential candidate Alan Garcia
Alan Garcia described the Venezuelan leader as "shameless"
Venezuela is withdrawing its ambassador to Lima in response to the same move by the Peruvian government on Sunday.

Caracas had initially said it would not reciprocate. Correspondents say the latest move suggests tensions between the two are unlikely to end soon.

Relations between the two nations have worsened since President Hugo Chavez called one of the candidates in Peru's election, Alan Garcia, "a thief".

Ex-President Garcia will face Ollanta Humala in an upcoming run-off vote.

Mr Ollanta, a nationalist who is seen as a Chavez ally, condemned what he called Venezuela's interference in the Peruvian elections but said the comments had been provoked by Mr Garcia.

The latest Peru-Venezuela spat erupted last week when Mr Chavez criticised Lima's decision to sign a free trade agreement with the US.

His comments came as Peruvian officials were still counting the votes from the 9 April election to determine which two candidates would make it to the second round of voting.

Mr Garcia responded accusing the Venezuelan president of being "shameless" for trying to stop other countries from dealing with Washington when he was selling oil the US.


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