Venezuela to strengthen ties with Russia

Russia and Venezuela are set to sign an agreement on bilateral cooperation in oil and energy sectors. The agreement is to be concluded during a visit of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to Moscow in May. This was disclosed by the Vienna-based headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Venezuela, the third world's producer of crude oil, is a rather active member of OPEC, with Hugo Chavez repeatedly bringing up energy sector issues, the OPEC release is quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. Apart from Mr. Chavez, the president's delegation will also include Venezuela's Minister of Energy and Mining Sectors Alvaro Silva Calderon and, most likely, the Chairman of the OPEC Board of Governors, Venezuelan Ali Rodriguez Araque. In the autumn 2000 Mr Araque paid a visit to Russia as President of the world petroleum producing cartel and held talks in the Russian Energy Ministry. According to OPEC headquarters, Hugo Chavez and the Russian leadership will focus on broader cooperation in the gas economic sector. And Caracas expects that Gazprom will play its active role in conducting prospecting work to develop natural gas fields in Venezuela.

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