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Chávez wraps up tour; signs arms, energy deals

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Friday, September 11 told his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez in Madrid that Spain is willing to cooperate to "reopen the dialogue between Colombia and Venezuela"


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Venezuela's Hugo Chávez waves as he arrives at a bookstore in central Madrid on Friday, September 11 (Photo: Sergio Pérez / Reuters)

World Affairs
September 7

Khamenei urges Venezuela to lead an "independent front"

The supreme leader of the Iranian Revolution, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: "the United States' repeated defeats in various parts of the world are proof of an undeniable change in the world."

In his meeting with President Hugo Chávez, who was visiting Tehran, Iran's top authority urged the Venezuelan Head of State to lead, along with Iran, a new "independent front" which in his opinion has been recently established, Efe reported.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela should boost their current level of cooperation to further strengthen the newly established independence front," Khamenei said, according the local official news agency IRNA.

Chávez is making an 11-day tour of Libya, Algeria, Syria and Iran. The leftist Venezuelan leader will also visit Belarus, Russia and Spain in the trip which has been described as a proposal to build a "multipolar world" to counter US influence.

Mariano Rajoy questions Spanish government's ties with Chávez
Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), the main opposition party in Spain, said that he likes neither "the things" that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez does nor the relationship of the Spanish government with him.

Chávez is scheduled to meet on September 11 in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero at the Moncloa Palace, the official residence for of President of the Government of Spain, Efe reported.

Chávez is eager to help Obama
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez said on Monday, September 7 he would like to help his US counterpart Barack Obama, for thinking that "his intentions are good."

Chávez's remarks were made on arriving in the Des Bains Hotel at Venice, where he dropped on Monday to attend the premiere of "South of the Border." The documentary film featuring him by US director Oliver Stone was to be exhibited as part of the Venice Film Festival.

"I think that Obama is well-intentioned and would like to help him," said Chávez, and added that the new US President "is good to talk to," unlike his predecessor, George W. Bush, Efe reported.

Chávez heads for Minsk to bolster trade and energy cooperation
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez is to land on Minsk on Tuesday, September 8 as part of a visit aimed at boosting trade and energy cooperation with Belarus, one of his main partners in Europe.

As reported on Monday by the Venezuelan Embassy to Minsk, quoted by Russian news agency Interfax, Chávez is to meet on Tuesday with his Belorussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, who has lately become a close friend of him, Efe reported.

Chávez plans to sign several trade agreements during his short stay in Minsk.

September 8

Lukashenko thanks Chávez for access to oilfields

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko thanked on Tuesday, September 8 his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez for the financial aid and access to Venezuela's rich oilfields.

"I would like to thank you for the enormous support given to our country. That is, financial aid and the fact that our mixed oil company can successfully operate and get benefits," Lukashenko told Chávez at the beginning of a meeting, according to Russian news agencies, Efe quoted.

Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, made reference to a loan granted by the Venezuelan government to face the financial crisis and oil drilling by Petrolera BeloVenezolana (Belo-Venezuelan Petroleum Company, PBV) at the Orinoco Oil Belt, the largest oil reserve in the world.

September 9

Chávez walks the red carpet to restore his image

After celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution, Chávez went to Italy to participate in the Venice Film Festival. On Monday, the Venezuelan President did not march against imperialism but he decided to walk the red carpet.

On this occasion, the flashes that had already lit the face of Chávez accompanied by leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei surprised the Venezuelan President smiling next to US director Oliver Stone.

After his visit to Libya, Syria, Algeria and Iran, Chávez managed to have political and trade deals with his counterparts in his desire to build a multipolar world. Now, what was the purpose of his visit to the city of canals and gondolas?

"(Chávez tried to restore) the international image that he has lost in the international democratic community," said Professor and international expert María Teresa Romero. She concluded that with this tour, the Latin American Head of State has "strengthened his ties to the most radical governments in the world," while the visit to the Venice Film Festival served him to "improve his image" in the West.

President Chávez accuses Israel of genocide
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez accused Israel on Wednesday, September 9 of genocide against the Palestinian people, and told a French daily newspaper that the offensive against Gaza Strip ending last year was an unprovoked attack.

"The question is not whether Israelis wish to exterminate Palestinians. They are overtly doing it," said Chávez in an interview with Le Figaro, published on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The Head of State, who just completed a tour of the Middle East and some Arab countries, rebutted the remarks made by the Israeli government, which claimed that the attack on Gaza Strip was in retaliation for the shelling from Islamist group Hamas, which controls the coast enclave.

Moscow rules out new arms sale to Venezuela
Russia and Venezuela are to sign a number of agreements, especially in the military area, during the visit of President Hugo Chávez to Moscow, but no arms sale agreement is expected, said on Wednesday the top foreign policy adviser of the Kremlin.

"We have prepared several agreements, about 10 agreements concerning energy issues, military and technical cooperation and financial topics," said the top Kremlin official Sergei Prikhodko, as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, AFP reported.

Prikhodko did not "rule out" that Venezuela could be given a credit to buy Russian arms, but insisted that none of the deals to be initialed during Chávez's visit would involve weapons sales. The Venezuelan president will be received on Thursday by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Chávez proposes Belarus President "a union of republics"
President Hugo Chávez proposed on Wednesday in Minsk to Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, to unite the two countries in a "new union of republics," as a proof of their excellent relations.

"We need to create a new union of the republics," of Venezuela and Belarus, Chávez said after his meeting with Lukashenko in the capital of the former Soviet republic, AFP reported.

"There will not be a union of Socialist republics (such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR)." "It will be free republics united in a union," Chávez said, as quoted by the Belarusian presidency's press office.

For his part, Lukashenko said he plans to travel to Venezuela to deepen a bilateral cooperation that has developed so strongly.

September 10

Russia says it is ready to sell tanks to Venezuela

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, September 10 that he was willing to sell tanks and other weapons to Venezuela.

"Russia will supply Venezuela those types of weapons which Venezuela asks us for. We will supply tanks, we have good tanks," Medvedev was quoted as saying by RIA news agency after talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, reported Reuters.

Venezuela recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced in Moscow that his country had decided to recognize the Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

"Venezuela from today is joining in the formal recognition of the two republics as independent states," the Interfax news agency quoted Chavez as saying, as reported by DPA.

Therefore, Venezuela became the third country, after Russia and Nicaragua, to acknowledge the independence of the two regions that threw off Georgian rule in August last year, following the Russian military intervention in the Caucasian republic.

Chávez, Medvedev sign military and oil cooperation agreements
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez executed on Thursday in Moscow a dozen agreements on military, energy and space cooperation, including a deal to develop the Orinoco Oil Belt, news agency Ria Novosti reported.

Medvedev promised to keep on supplying weapons and military equipment to Venezuela. The technical-military cooperation is an important component in our relations; we do not hide it," the Russian president said, DPA quoted.

"Of course we will provide them with arms. Why not? We have good tanks and if our friends ask for them, we will give them," he added.

Georgia balks at Venezuela's recognition of secessionist provinces
Georgia rejected on Thursday the decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to recognize the independence of the two secessionist pro-Russian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, considering that this decision will have "no important political implications."

"When politicians as marginal as Chávez and (Nicaraguan President Daniel) Ortega make such decisions, they show that this is a political anomaly," Temur Yakobashvili, the Georgian Vice Prime Minister, told AFP.

"I do not think that this decision will have a significant political consequence," he said.

Chávez calls Putin to speed up the creation of a "new world"
President Hugo Chávez urged on Thursday Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin to "speed up the creation of a new world" during his meeting at the residence of the head of the Russian government in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow.

Chávez, who met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev before visiting Putin, recalled that when he paid his first visit to Russia in 2001 and first met Putin, he was only "looking for the path" to follow," Efe reported.

"I have been lucky to find you and thank God we have started early. Today, we live in another world," he said.

Venezuela's support to sovereignty of Georgian regions is "isolated"
Granting recognition of the independence of the breakaway Georgia republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is an "isolated" stance, Philip Crowley, a spokesman of the US State Department said on Thursday.

"That Russia has found one country plus the Nicaraguan legislature to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia underscores how isolated that view is," Crowley told reporters, as quoted by AFP.

During his visit to Moscow on Thursday, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez announced that Venezuela recognized the independence of the two rebel regions and pledged to establish soon diplomatic relations with both of them.

September 11

Chávez offers his "friends" King Juan Carlos and Zapatero a relation of "equals"

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said on Friday, September 11 that he is willing to "take care" of his relation with Spain and his "friends" King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to enhance the ties between the two countries "on equal grounds."

Speaking to reporters, Chávez sent his message upon leaving the Madrid hotel where he is staying, as he was departing for the Moncloa Palace, the official residence of the President of the government of Spain, to meet with Rodríguez Zapatero, Efe reported.

The meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister was held before the encounter with King Juan Carlos at the Zarzuela Palace. Chávez is paying a short visit to Madrid that wraps up his tour of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

"It is a working and affection stopover. We stopped here for a gathering of friends. We are friends of Prime Minister Zapatero and King Juan Carlos. We want to talk about politics and economy," Chávez said.

Spain offers help in talks between Colombia and Venezuela
Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Friday told his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez in Madrid that Spain is willing to cooperate to "reopen the dialogue between Colombia and Venezuela."

Rodríguez Zapatero "once again expressed" to Chávez "his willingness to collaborate in every possible way to reopen the dialogue between Colombia and Venezuela," reported the Ministry of the Spanish Presidency in a statement.

The two leaders "were pleased to reaffirm the good status of bilateral relations" before reviewing issues such as the Ibero-American Summit to be held next November in the Portuguese city of Estoril and the European Union, Latin America and Caribbean Summit (EU-LAC) to be held next year, AFP reported.

In this sense, the Spanish Prime Minister told President Chávez that "he is confident of Venezuela's support" to the bi-regional meeting, which is considered by Madrid as "a central event of the Spanish presidency of the European Union (EU)," in the first half of 2010.

Dozen people challenge Chávez downtown Madrid
A group of people rebuked on Friday Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez on his arrival in a bookstore downtown Madrid, where he was finishing his tour of several countries.

"Out with Chávez," "Shame of you," and "(Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadineyad's friend," yelled at him dozen people gathered in front of the Casa del Libro, located in La Gran Vía. In the meantime, another group cheered and recriminated Chávez's detractors by chanting "Long live Cuba!," Efe reported.

Chávez showed up in the bookstore, surrounded by strong security measures, for a press interview after his meetings at the Palacio de la Moncloa with Spanish Head of Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos.


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