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27 Nov, 2008 00:53

Medvedev talks arms and energy in Caracas

Military links and joint energy ventures have dominated talks between the Russian and Venezuelan leaders in Caracas. Dmitry Medvedev is the first Russian leader to pay an official visit to Venezuela in more than 150 years of relations between the two countries.

The sides have agreed to set up a joint bank and abolish the visa regime for travellers between the countries.

The Russian leader has also said that Moscow is ready to work more closely with OPEC in the oil markets to ensure stable and fair prices.

“Russia and Venezuela are two energy giants and they are uniting at present,” Chavez commented. “We need to consolidate co-operation with OPEC and also with other states in order to restore oil prices, to bring stability to prices that are affected by the crisis.”

The Russian leader also stressed that Russia and Venezuela intend to continue to develop bilateral military-technical cooperation.

“We will continue this co-operation,” Medvedev stated. “We have exchanged our ideas with the president (of Venezuela) how and what we will do.”

On Thursday, both heads of state will meet on board the Russian warship “Peter the Great”, which is taking part in joint military exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

The arrival of Russian warships in Venezuela has been labelled by some critics as an attempted show of force in America's backyard. Russian officials, however, say the exercise has nothing to do with Washington.

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