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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 16:09 GMT
Chavez demands respect for Venezuela



The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has said that the world must understand that Venezuela is a sovereign country and merits respect.

His comments follow remarks at the weekend by a senior United States official, who said there was no government in charge in Venezuela, only referendums and elections.

The official, Peter Romero, who's the Assistant Secretary of State with responsibility for Latin America was quoted by a Spanish newspaper ABC as saying that US patience with the country was running out.

Mr Chavez, who today marks his first year in office, said he gave little importance to the issue, but added that Venezuela's diplomacy was based on self-determination and mutual respect. On Tuesday, the Venezuelan foreign ministry demanded an explanation from the US ambassador for Mr Romero's comments.

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