There were smiles and warm handshakes all round as Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, and Spain’s King Juan Carlos met for the first time since their highly public spat over when to stay silent.
A relaxed looking Chavez joked “Why don’t we go to the beach?” as he met the King at the royal summer residence in Majorca.
The pair famously fell out at an Ibero-American summit in Chile last November after the monarch shouted “Por que no te callas” or “Why don’t you shut up?” when Chavez interrupted a speech by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero calling his predecessor a fascist.
But after talks in Madrid with Spain’s prime minister, Chavez joked about the small industry that has sprouted from the King’s outburst, inspiring mobile-phone ringtones, mugs and t-shirts.
“The King hasn’t received any copyright fees and they belong to both of us,” he quipped. “Some people have made a fortune and for us all that remains is something to laugh about each time we see each other.
Although the incident strained ties for a while, both countries say normal relations are now firmly restored.