Tags: Putin | Venezuela's | Chavez | Plan | Anti-U.S. | Alliance

Putin, Venezuela's Chavez Plan Anti-U.S. Alliance

Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM

Putin and Chavez, who had extensive talks, discovered that they had much in common. Chavez declared to the media that they were now "good friends."

The two have somewhat similar backgrounds. Putin, 47, is a former KGB officer and ex-leader of the FSB secret service who is busy restoring federal control over independent-minded Russian regions and is widely seen as a much more authoritarian ruler than predecessor Boris Yeltsin. The 46-year-old Chavez is a former paratrooper who led a failed coup before being elected president and has threatened to rule Venezuela by decree under a proposed state of emergency.

Putin praised the Venezuelan as "a young and energetic leader of the new generation of politicians who understand the national interests of their countries and pay great attention to the development of" bilateral relations.

Chavez responded by declaring that "a strategic alliance, has begun, a joint path."

Both men issued a joint declaration condemning uni-polarity, as U.S. domination of international affairs has been called, and calling for an end of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

The joint declaration made clear that Russia and Venezuela will seek to boost trade links with dictator Fidel Castro's regime.

Putin described the newly established ties with Venezuela "an important element in Russia's cooperation with Latin America," while Chavez said his country would seek to deepen "Russia's presence in the Caribbean region," words that were bound to raise alarm bells in Washington.

Putin and Chavez spent time discussing the two countries' interests in maintaining high oil prices. Venezuela, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is one of the Western Hemisphere's leading oil producers, while Russia is the world's second-largest oil producer and a major oil exporter, while remaining outside OPEC.

Putin told Chavez that the world price of oil should be "fair" to producers, while Chavez noted that cooperation between Caracas and Moscow is "essential" as "we can't allow the price of oil to fall."

Officials close to the talks said Russian companies are interested in helping Venezuela develop its oil and gas fields by providing Russian technology and know-how.

Russia is also keen to boost exports of rolled metal, equipment and fertilizer to the Latin American country in exchange for coffee and aluminum.

Last year, bilateral trade between Russian and Venezuela increased by 350 percent.

Chavez invited the Russian leader to visit Caracas, a visit that is expected to take place early next year.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Putin and Chavez, who had extensive talks, discovered that they had much in common. Chavez declared to the media that they were now good friends. The two have somewhat similar backgrounds. Putin, 47, is a former KGB officer and ex-leader of the FSB secret service who is...
Putin,,Venezuela's,Chavez,Plan,Anti-U.S.,Alliance
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2001-00-14
Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM
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