'Venezuela, Belarus united against US'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says Caracas and Minsk are united in their resistance to 'US imperialism' and Washington's 'lackeys'.

After signing an oil deal on Wednesday, Chavez praised his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko as a friend and renewed his strong criticism of the United States.

Chavez, on his third visit to Belarus, added that both the countries are fighting against the same enemy -imperialist America and its lackeys. He vowed to work with Belarus to defeat 'hegemonist' US imperialism.

Calling Lukashenko as a 'brother', Chavez added that they are winning the 'long battle' against US imperialism and its hegemonic policies, but "we cannot say we've won yet."

Lukashenko, who has also long railed against the influence of the United States in world affairs, reassured Chavez of his friendship and said Venezuela could always rely on his support.

The Belarusian president honored Chavez with the country's 'Friendship of Nations' award.

"You have the most reliable friends in Belarus, and if it is necessary, taking into consideration your [good] attitude towards us, we can resolve any problem in friendly and brotherly manner to the benefit of Venezuela, your people and you," Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko, in office since 1994, added that the US sanctions on his country, has had little effect.

Relations between Belarus and the US began to deteriorate last November, after Washington imposed sanctions on the Belarus national energy company, over alleged human rights abuses.