Hugo Chavez seals energy, military deals in Moscow

The Venezuelan President has met with Russia’s leaders in Moscow, to hammer out agreements ranging from nuclear power, to arms trade and oil production.

President Medvedev welcomed Hugo Chavez to the Kremlin on Friday. The leaders signed several key deals, including an agreement for Russia to build the South American country’s first nuclear power plant.

During the talks, on Chavez’s ninth visit to Moscow, the leaders discussed partnership plans up to 2014. They cover not just energy and military cooperation, but also joint construction, financial and industrial projects.

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“Russia and Venezuela would like to see a new and fair world order in which our future will not depend on the desires, well-being and mood of just one single country,” said Dmitry Medvedev at a joint media conference. “This new world order should be built as a joint effort of the international community. This is the only kind of order that can provide stable development for human kind in the 21st Century,” he concluded.

The two-day visit to Moscow was Chavez’s first stop on a six-nation tour, aimed at strengthening trade ties with countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Military deals between Russia and Venezuela now exceed US$4 billion.

Venezuela is constructing three military plants – to produce Kalashnikov rifles, to make cartridges, and an aircraft repair plant to service Russian helicopter equipment. Caracas plans to buy ten Ilyushin planes, two Il-78MK refueling aircraft and Russian Mi-28NE helicopters.

Venezuela might also become the first export customer for Sukhoi fighter jets, according to the Russian military export company, Rosoboronexport.

Vladimir Kremlev for RT (click to enlarge)

In the near future, military equipment exports to Venezuela could reach $5 billion, said Vladimir Putin.

In energy cooperation – Caracas may build a nuclear power plant in Venezuela with Russia’s support.

The leaders also finalized establishing a joint Russian-Venezuelan bank, as agreed in 2009. The bank’s headquarters would be in Moscow, with offices in Venezuela and China.

Another topic on the agenda was Russia’s assistance in building social housing, hospitals and schools for Venezuela’s poor, which was discussed during a previous visit to Caracas by Russian leaders.

On Thursday Chavez addressed the Two Centuries of Independence of Latin America conference, at the Foreign Literature Library in Moscow. He assured that Venezuela was not building a nuclear bomb, and that it is only interested in nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Chavez also called the collapse of the Soviet Union a “catastrophe”.He went on to say, “Although the world has changed, Russia and Venezuela continue to play an immense role in the world balance of powers,” Itar Tass quoted.

He also made a number of strong statements regarding the US.

“You must have heard a Mexican leader say, ‘Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States,’” Chavez said. “All of us Latin Americans could say the exact same thing. Our poor America. So far from God and so close to the… Yankee empire that has hurt our continent so badly.”