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Venezuela, Colombia Sign Energy Deals


The presidents of Venezuela and Colombia have signed an accord to build a gas pipeline from Venezuela to Colombia, after a day of meetings on energy issues.

Colombia's Alvaro Uribe and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez met Thursday at an oil refinery in Venezuela's Paraguana region. The pipeline they agreed to build would be used first to deliver Colombian gas to Venezuela, as Venezuela develops its own gas supplies. Later, as Colombian supplies are depleted, the pipeline will be used to send Venezuelan gas to Colombia. Construction is set to begin in 2006.

The two leaders also discussed the possibility of a separate pipeline to carry Venezuelan oil through Colombia to the Pacific, where it can be shipped elsewhere.

Relations between the two nations have sometimes been tense, as Mr. Uribe is an ally of President Bush, while Mr. Chavez is an outspoken critic of the American president.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.