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US rejects Venezuelan espionage charge on drug agency

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States on Monday rejected Venezuela's charges that US drug agents were spying on the South American country.

    "The accusations that somehow the (US) Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is involved in espionage are b aseless," said Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.

    "There's no substance or justification for them," said Ereli, adding it was regrettable that the Venezuelan government announced that it was suspending cooperation with the DEA.

    On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the DEA of using its agents for espionage, and said Venezuela was suspending cooperation with the US agency.

    "The DEA was using the fight against drug trafficking as a mask, to support drug trafficking, to carry out intelligence in Venezuela against the government," Chavez told reporters.

    Meanwhile, the US embassy in Caracas on Monday also expressed its regret over the decision of the Venezuelan government to suspend the joint work with the DEA.

    For decades, cooperation between DEA and Venezuela in the combat against drug-trafficking has been valued, because it has saved innocent lives of Venezuelan and US, said a communique from the US embassy.

    The embassy warned that this will have an impact on the decision to be taken over the coming months by the United States with regards to collaboration on the anti-drugs fight.

    Venezuela and the United States have been in tense relations since Chavez took office in 1999. Chavez has said the United States tries to oust him. Enditem

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