Venezuela establishes diplomatic ties with PA

Venezuela on Monday established formal diplomatic ties with Palestinian Authority officials, who are opening a diplomatic mission in the South American country. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki thanked President Hugo Chavez's government for its support during the recent IDF operation in the Gaza Strip, which prompted the Venezuelan leader to break off relations with Israel. Venezuelan-Palestinian relations have warmed as tensions have grown between Chavez's government and Israel. Venezuela expelled Israeli diplomats on January 6 to protest Operation Cast Lead, and Israel later responded by kicking out Venezuelan envoys.