Venezuela in diplomatic row with Washington

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The Independent US

Venezuela's top diplomat accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of attacking his country for seeking Latin American unity and opposing US influence in international affairs.

He said she had "an obsession" with nations that stand up to Washington.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro was quoted by Venezuela's state-run news agency as saying: "This new attack against our country from Hillary Clinton ... demonstrates a policy of intrigue, aggression and desperation."

Earlier in Azerbaijan, Mrs Clinton said the United States is challenging crackdowns on human rights in several countries including Venezuela.

The other offenders on Washington's radar include Belarus, Iran and Cuba - all close allies of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.