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15 Oct, 2010 12:49

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.

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.”