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Caracas, Tuesday November 23 , 2004  
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Aznar's party demands Zapatero to rebut Chávez' "grave statements"

Mariano Rajoy, president of opposition Popular Party, Tuesday demanded Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to "refute" the "very serious statements" made by Venezuelan President Hugo that José María Aznar administration endorsed a coup in the South American country.

At the headquarters of the Popular Party, Rajoy told reporters that "for the sake of the special relation" Spain has with Venezuela, the PP is not responding to Chávez' "unwonted declarations," and asked the Venezuelan leader to end his statements.

Rajoy also stressed that Chávez and the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos "agreed in content and form" to say that Aznar administration did endorse a coup in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Aznar also called upon Rodríguez Zapatero to rebut Chávez' declarations.

Sources close to Aznar told news agency EFE that the former Spanish President agreed with Rajoy's petitions.

"From the viewpoint of Venezuela, I do not have doubts that it was true," said Chávez referring to Spain's alleged involvement in a coup in Venezuela on April 11, 2002.

Chávez arrived in Madrid on Sunday for a two-day official visit that is to end on Tuesday with a meeting with Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Chávez' declarations followed Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos' statements on Monday that the Spanish Ambassador to Venezuela was instructed to endorse a coup attempt in Caracas.

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