Argentine President slams NATO for Libya mission

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited his Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez to sign a raft of oil transport and other agreements on Tuesday (March 29).

Fernandez was ready to welcome him at the Casa Rosada government palace, where they held private talks before holding a news conference, but the Venezuelan leader arrived a little late with his daughter Rosa Ines.

Chavez spoke of progress in bilateral relations between the two South American countries.

But President Fernandez struck out against NATO in a thinly veiled attack on the mission in Libya.

Chavez has previously denounced military action in Libya, saying it is aimed at seizing the North African country's oil reserves.

"When someone looks at the world, and observes the people who are supposed to be civilized resolving their problems by launching bombs, it really makes me proud to be South American and proud to be part of [the] UNASUR [political bloc] and to honor this tradition of peace and harmony that we have here in our beloved home of UNASUR," Fernandez said.

Later, the two visited one of South America's largest ship repair yards.

Tandanor is run by a workers cooperative and will build 16 new oil tankers for the Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, after a new contract was signed by Fernandez and Chavez at the site.

The tankers will cost US$83 million, measure 90 metres (295 feet) in length and have will each be able to ship between 2,500 and 7,500 cubic metres of petrol, according to the Argentine government.

Venezuela signed an agreement with Argentina last year to renovate its oil transport fleet, and includes the construction of tug boats and repair of various vessels.

[Source: International Movement for a Just World, Bs As, 29Mar11]

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