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Venezuelan President in Belarus on Trade Mission


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko have agreed to expand cooperation between the energy sectors of their two countries.

Officials of the two sides signed an agreement allowing a Venezuelan-Belarusian joint venture, BeloVenezolana, to exploit three additional oil fields in the South American country. The signing ceremony followed talks Wednesday between the two leaders in Minsk.

Earlier, Mr. Chavez referred to his Belarusian counterpart as a friend, and said he hopes to use his one-day visit to double bilateral trade and improve other economic ties.

The Venezuelan leader flew to Minsk from Moscow, where he and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev witnessed the signing of three contracts expanding the presence of Russian oil and natural gas companies in Latin America.

Mr. Chavez said a strategic energy and arms alliance between Venezuela and Russia will help guarantee Venezuelan sovereignty, which he says is threatened by the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.