Chile's Bachelet says bothered by Chavez meddling

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SANTIAGO, Nov 23 (Reuters) President Michelle Bachelet said she asked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stay out of Chile's affairs at a summit this month -- the same meeting in which Spain's king told Chavez to ''shut up.'' In an interview with local television late yesterday, Bachelet said she was bothered by Chavez's statements at the summit in Santiago, when he backed Bolivia's demands for sea access through Chilean territory.

Bolivia lost its maritime ties in a sea war with Chile more than a century ago, and the issue has dominated and stressed relations between the two countries ever since.

''I indicated to him that the Bolivia issue was a bilateral one and, as such, his comments were not appropriate and I asked him not to make further statements along those lines, and he didn't,'' Bachelet told Channel 13 television.

Chavez, an outspoken leftist and former soldier whose statements often raise eyebrows, was told to ''shut up'' by Spain's King Juan Carlos during closing remarks at the Ibero summit of Latin leaders.

Earlier Chavez had called former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a fascist.

The royal rebuke sparked comical skits and songs from Caracas to Madrid. Chavez demanded the king apologize or risk his country's business interests in Venezuela.

REUTERS RSA KN2217

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