Chavez to sign several agreements during Russia visit

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Moscow, Sep 24 (UNI) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will sign a number of political and economic agreements during his visit to Russia on September 26-27.

''During my upcoming visit to Russia, we will launch a number of new political and financial projects,'' RIA Novosti quoted Mr Chavez as saying from Beijing.

Mr Chavez is currently on a visit to China, part of a week-long world tour which also includes Portugal and France.

He said he planned to discuss with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, among other things, the possibility of creating a joint Russian-Venezuelan bank.

He added that the two leaders would meet, for the second time so far this year, not in Moscow but in southern Russia, near the border with Azerbaijan, where they would both watch a military exercise.

Mr Chavez spoke in glowing terms about the upcoming joint Russian-Venezuelan naval exercise in the Caribbean.

''The Russian fleet has already left Severomorsk and is on its way to the Venezuelan coast, where a joint exercise will take place in November. It must not be regarded as a declaration of war - it is a declaration of peace,'' he said.

A naval task force from the Northern Fleet, including the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko, and support ships, left the Severomorsk base on Monday to conduct training exercises in the Atlantic.

Mr Chavez said the Russian naval presence in the Venezuelan waters served the cause of peace, as had the recent flights along the South American coast from a Venezuelan airbase by Russian strategic bombers.

UNI XC SKB AS1710

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