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By Associated Press

Mounting tensions between the Venezuelan government and political opposition have pushed the Vatican to call off a planned visit by the foreign minister.

The Vatican embassy in Caracas says in a Thursday statement that the cancellation of Archbishop Paul Gallagher's trip was not decided by the Holy See. That implies Venezuela may have asked that he not come.

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Papal spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi had stressed in recent days that the purpose of the May 24-29 trip was to participate in the consecration of a Venezuelan bishop recently named the Vatican's ambassador to the Congo.

But the visit took on greater diplomatic weight amid speculation that he could play a role in defusing an increasingly turbulent political crisis as the opposition seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

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