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Venezuela condemns ‘US airspace ban’ on President Maduro

–Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has condemned what he described as a US ban on his plane using its airspace.

In a speech in the capital Caracas, Mr Maduro also accused the US of refusing to issue a visa to a top official in order to attend a UN meeting next week.

US officials have not confirmed or commented on the claims.

Venezuela’s relations with the US have been often been strained, both under Mr Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez and since his own election in April.

Mr Maduro said that US authorities had barred his plane from travelling over the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a US territory, on a planned trip to China later this week.

He described the move as a “serious offence” while Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said it was “another act of aggression on the part of US imperialism”.

Local media in Puerto Rico quoted officials as saying they knew nothing about the alleged ban and that it was a matter for the federal US government.

In July Venezuela announced that it had “ended” steps towards restoring diplomatic ties with the US, after a top American diplomat referred to a “crackdown on civil society” in Venezuela.

Washington had also angered Caracas by backing the Venezuelan opposition’s demand for a full recount of April’s presidential election which was narrowly won by Mr Maduro.

The two countries last had ambassadors in each other’s capitals in 2010.

Source: BBC

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