11:21 GMT +322 February 2017
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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (File)

    Spanish Foreign Ministry Summons Venezuelan Envoy Over Maduro Insulting Rajoy

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    The Spanish Foreign Ministry said Friday it had summoned the Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain Mario Isea to express its discontent over the recent insults by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro against Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — Earlier this week, after Rajoy appealed to Venezuela to release Leopoldo Lopez and other representatives of the country’s opposition from prisons, Maduro called Rajoy "a bandit, a defender of criminals and thugs" and urged him to stop interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

    "The Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America has expressed the concern of the Spanish government in relation to the language used, which was offensive, unacceptable and unfair, and has emphasized the need for an urgent, effective dialogue in Venezuela in order to solve the problems of the Venezuelans. Spain, which wants to maintain relations of respect with Venezuela, is willing to contribute to that dialogue," the Spanish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Earlier in the day, the spokesman of the Spanish government Inigo Mendez de Vigo said that such rhetoric of Maduro did not contribute to the development of relations between the two countries.

    In September 2015, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 14 years of prison for inciting violence during 2014 street protests that led to the death of over 40 people – both opposition and Maduro’s supporters.

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    Nicolas Maduro, Spain, Venezuela
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