Spain and Venezuela united to condemn all forms of terrorism on Saturday, ending a spat between the two countries that arose after a Spanish judge alleged links between the Venezuelan government and Colombian FARC and Basque ETA rebels.
Spain annoyed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this week by asking for an explanation of the judge’s accusations that Venezuela had helped ETA rebels and FARC guerrillas plot possible attacks on Spanish soil.
Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos talked to Chavez on Thursday to try to calm the row.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Friday he accepted Spain was seeking information rather than accusing the Venezuelan government of wrong-doing and said relations between the two countries had returned to normal.
Venezuela said in a joint statement with Spain on Saturday that it strongly denied any collaboration between the government and ETA, and said it totally rejected the group’s activities.
“Spain and Venezuela declare their firm intention to deepen their friendly and fruitful relationship, based on extensive co-operation between the two across all fields including the fight against terrorism,” the statement said.
The public disagreement and subsequent reconciliation is not the first between Venezuela and its major investor Spain.
Relations between the two have been closely monitored after the Spanish king shouted, “Why don’t you shut up?” at the outspoken Chavez during a 2007 summit. Footage of the outburst inspired mobile phone ringtones, mugs and T-shirts.
The two leaders made up at the Spanish royals’ summer residence on the island of Mallorca in July 2008 where the king gave Chavez a T-shirt depicting the incident. (Reuters)