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Venezuela’s Chavez hails ‘strategic’ relations with Russia

RIA Novosti [1]
Wednesday, Nov 5, 2008

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has held up Russian economic cooperation as evidence of the two countries’ “strategic” relations, the Mexican media reported on Wednesday.

“The establishment of a Russian-Venezuelan development bank, and an energy consortium involving [Russian energy giant] Gazprom and Venezuela’s state-run oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela is evidence of our strategic relations,” Chavez was quoted as saying at a meeting to support gubernatorial candidates in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira on Tuesday.

The Russian-Venezuelan intergovernmental commission will hold a meeting in Caracas on Thursday, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin leading a delegation of around 60 Russian businessmen.

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Cooperation between Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Russia’s largest independent oil producer LUKoil, as well as a project to establish a joint development bank is expected to be on the agenda.

Chavez said earlier that Sechin’s visit would pave the way for the arrival of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Venezuela.

Chavez first announced Medvedev’s “strategic” visit to Venezuela on October 10. Russian presidential spokeswoman Natalya Timakova has said Medvedev could call in some Latin American countries as part of his trip to Lima, Peru for the APEC summit on November 22-23.