Venezuela prepares for first visit by Russian leader

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is due to hold talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chazez in Caracas on Wednesday. Medvedev will be the first Russian leader to make an official visit to Venezuela in more than 150 years of relations between t

The presidents are expected to sign agreements on economic, scientific and military cooperation. Visa-free travel between the two nations may also be on the agenda.

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.

Chavez has visited Russia seven times since becoming leader of Venezuela, and Medvedev's return trip confirms their determination to seal a partnership between the two countries.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Medvedev said: “For Russia, Venezuela is a priority as a strategic partner in Latin America.”

The Russian leader has just completed a visit to Brazil, where he expressed his desire to increase trade with its largest South American partner from US 5 billion to $10 billion.

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