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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Venezuela denies UN misuse claim
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Ties are strained between Hugo Chavez and Washington
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez has denied US claims that his country would be a disruptive influence if elected to the UN Security Council.

A US diplomatic note obtained by the BBC says Caracas would use the Council for "ideological grandstanding".

The Bush administration has said it prefers Guatemala for the seat but denies putting pressure on other Latin American nations to vote its way.

Five non-permanent Security Council seats become vacant later this year.

The campaign for a seat on the Council highlights the strained ties between the US and Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a vocal critic of US policies, while Washington accuses him of undermining regional stability.

We are deeply concerned that Venezuela would seek to disrupt the work of the Security Council and use it for ideological grandstanding rather than concrete problem-solving
US note

Mr Rodriguez told the BBC that Venezuela would maintain its independent views on matters of international importance.

They would not automatically vote against the US on issues before the Council but consider each case carefully, he said.

"We will use our position there to support peace in the world and refuse all kinds of attacks on peaceful countries," Mr Rodriguez said.

A US diplomatic communique obtained by the BBC details Washington's efforts to persuade other countries to vote against Venezuela.

The document, called "Defeating Venezuela in the 2006 non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council", states that "Venezuela has shown that it is more concerned with disrupting international events than in working constructively to achieve common goals".

The note warns that critical issues will come before the next Security Council including nuclear non-proliferation in Iran to peace-making in Sudan.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL
UN Security Council

"We are deeply concerned that Venezuela would seek to disrupt the work of the Security Council and use it for ideological grandstanding rather than concrete problem-solving," the communique says.

Mr Rodriguez dismissed the accusations as part of US propaganda against Venezuela.

Asked about US support for Guatemala, he said: "That is their right, as is the right of other countries to support Venezuela as a member of the Security Council."

Controversy

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton has previously criticised Venezuela's campaign for a seat, saying it would not contribute to the effective operations of the council.

"I think we're making our position very clear, very persuasively too," Mr Bolton said without elaborating, when asked on Wednesday if the US was encouraging other countries not to support Venezuela.

The UN Security Council is composed of five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members, who are elected for two year terms by members of the UN General assembly. Each member holds the presidency of the council for a one-month period, on a rotating basis.




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