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President Hugo Chavez's government says Spain will represent Venezuela's diplomatic interests in Israel.

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry says its consular affairs will be conducted through the Spanish diplomatic mission. Late Tuesday's statement says the agreement was reached during Chavez's trip to Spain last week and it will be formalized in the coming hours.

Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Israel in January to protest its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Chavez accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinian people, telling a French newspaper that the bombing of Gaza late last year was an unprovoked attack.

"The question is not whether the Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians. They're doing it openly," Chavez said in an interview with Le Figaro published on Wednesday.

The Venezuelan president, who has just completed a tour of Middle Eastern and Arab countries, brushed aside Israeli assertions that its attack on Gaza was a response to rocket fire from Islamist group Hamas which rules the coastal enclave.

"What was it if not genocide? ... The Israelis were looking for an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians," Chavez said, adding that sanctions should have been slapped on Israel.

Earlier in September, Chavez said that Iran will "not back down" in its quest for peaceful nuclear energy, French news agency AFP reported.

The statement came during a visit Chavez paid to Iran, where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shortly after he said Iran will not bow to pressure in meeting any deadline set by world powers and is ready for more sanctions over its nuclear program.