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Venezuelan-Palestinian ties forged
Palestinian Authority says embassy in Caracas will be one of 10 in region.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2009 07:52 GMT
Venezuelans protested against the Israeli
military operation in Gaza [AFP]

Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority have established diplomatic relations.

Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan foreign minister, and Riyad al-Maliki, his Palestinian counterpart, signed agreements creating diplomatic ties on Monday in Caracas.

"The people of Palestine can count on our eternal and permanent solidarity with their just and humane cause," Maduro said.

Al-Maliki thanked Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, for his support during the recent Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The weeks-long assault left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and prompted Chavez to break off relations with Israel.

Al-Maliki also praised Chavez as "the most popular leader in the Arab world", in part for his staunch support of Palestinians.

Maduro said that the Palestinian cause was "like our own".

Growing tensions

Venezuelan-Palestinian relations have become closer as tensions have grown between Chavez's government and Israel.

Caracas expelled Israeli diplomats in January to protest against the Gaza offensive, and Israel responded by dismissing Venezuelan envoys.

In 2006, Chavez withdrew Venezuela's envoy to Israel to protest against the war on Lebanon.

Al-Maliki said the Palestinian embassy inaugurated in Caracas on Monday would be one of 10 such missions in Latin America.

Source:
Agencies
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