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EGYPT: Venezuelan president calls U.S. role in crisis 'shameful'

January 30, 2011 |  3:09 pm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday the United States was playing a "shameful" role in the Egyptian crisis and accused it of hypocrisy for supporting, then abandoning, strongmen around the world.

Chavez told Reuters news agency he had spoken to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and Syria's President Bashar Assad on the protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

“In Egypt, the situation is complicated," Chavez said.

“Now you are seeing comments from Washington and some European nations. As President Kadafi said to me, it's shameful, it makes you kind of sick to see the meddling of the U.S., wanting to take control.”

On Sunday, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other U.S. officials urged an orderly transition to democracy in Egypt to avoid a power vacuum but stopped short of calling on President Hosni Mubarak, an ally of three decades, to step down.

Chavez has generally cast himself as pro-Arab, opposed to the policies of Israel and the United States.

But in brief comments carried on state TV, he avoided any further specific comment on Egypt, saying only that “national sovereignty” should be respected.

Chavez scoffed at what he called the United States' changeable foreign policy.

“See how the United States, after using such-and-such a president for years, as soon as he hits a crisis, they abandon him. That's how the devil pays,” he said.

“They didn't even give a visa or anything to the president of Tunisia,” he said, referring to President Zine el Abidine ben Ali, who fled this month after failing to quell the worst unrest of his more than two-decade rule.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks with counterparts in Egypt, Israel about unrest

— Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on Jan. 26. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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