John Kerry's Venezuela Remarks Regarding Hugo Chavez's Absence 'Regrettable', Foreign Minister Says

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JOHN KERRY REMARKS ON HUGO CHAVEZ
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. is seen during his confirmation hearing to become the next top diplomat, replacing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) | AP
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CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's foreign minister has taken issue with a comment by Sen. John Kerry during his confirmation hearing as nominee for U.S. secretary of state.

Kerry said during Thursday's hearing in Washington that depending on what happens in Venezuela, there could be an opportunity for a transition.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua says his government regrets Kerry's remark because he was taking a stance relating to Venezuela's domestic affairs. Jaua said on state television that Venezuela hopes for relations of "mutual respect."

Kerry's comment related to the uncertain situation in Venezuela during President Hugo Chavez's long absence after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11. Chavez has not spoken or been seen in public for more than six weeks.

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