Venezuelan ambassador arrives in US, but tensions remain high

June 27, 2009 05:30


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Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez returned to Washington on Friday, and called the countries' decision to restore top-level diplomatic envoys the "first step in normalizing relations." US Ambassador Patrick Duddy is expected to arrive in Caracas next week. But late Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said he'd spoken with Thomas Shannon, the top US diplomat for the Americas, to express concern over comments made by Gen. Douglas Fraser, who took the helm of US military operations in Latin American and the Caribbean on Thursday. Fraser had said he was concerned over an apparent military buildup in Venezuela. Maduro accused Fraser of "meddling in the country's internal affairs," and lamented that his "offensive" comments were made at the same time that both governments decided to return their ambassadors.

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