Chavez arrives in Moscow to discuss cooperation

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss prospects for trade, economic, and military-technical cooperation with Russia.

Chavez said his country would strengthen its strategic alliance with Russia and sign several agreements on economic cooperation.

He thanked President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for their efforts that helped to “break the U.S. policy of disarming Venezuela completely.”

Chavez lauded particularly agreements on the supply of Su-30 planes, helicopters, Kalashnikov assault rifles and other defence materials to Venezuela.

He stressed the “importance of building a gas pipeline to the south of Venezuela, which will be 8,000 kilometres long.”

In his words, “This project will be implemented in the interests of not only Venezuela but also of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and other Latin American countries.”

The president said, “Several agreements on oil trade, industry, entrepreneurial activities and the construction of aluminium plants were signed in Volgograd and Izhevsk.”

Chavez said Venezuela has no nuclear programme.

“If we get a nuclear programme, we will say so,” he said.

The president stressed, “The use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, for example in medicine, is simply necessary.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said “The talks in the Russian capital will focus on the development of trade and economic relations” between the two countries.

In 2005, bilateral trade turnover increased by 61.8 percent to 77 U.S. million dollars. “A manifold increase” in Russian-Venezuelan trade is expected this year, he added.

The diplomat said “priority in economic cooperation is given to the fuel and energy sector” because Russia and Venezuela are among the largest oil producers and exporters.

Venezuela will also buy Russian Su-30 planes and helicopters under a more than one billion U.S. dollar contract.

According to Kamynin, “military-technical cooperation with Venezuela, like with other countries, is developing in full compliance with the norms of international law and Russian legislation.”

“The two sovereign states are building their relations on a market basis, taking into account the competitiveness of goods,” he said.

[Source: Itar-Tass, Moscow, 26Jul06]

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