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Venezuela official held at U.S. airport

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The United States has apologized to Venezuela for the detention of its foreign minister by airport security in New York City, U.S. officials said.

"This is a provocation from Mr. Devil," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told Venezuelan state television, using a name he called President Bush at the U.N. General Assembly last week. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro had also attended the U.N. meeting.

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Maduro told CNN that as he reached out to pick up an item that had been screened at a security checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport, security personnel told him he was prohibited from doing so.

Maduro identified himself as a Venezuela government official, but officials still took him to a room for a more thorough screening, he said.

Maduro claims he was kept in the room for 90 minutes.

"The State Department regrets this incident," State Department spokesman Gonzo Gallegos said.

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