Chavez to discuss oil, trade during visit to Belarus next week

MINSK, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will visit Belarus next week to discuss economic cooperation with the former Soviet republic with focus on energy projects, the Belarusian STV television has said.

Chavez is on an 11-day trip to Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Spain and Russia.

"Hugo Chavez continues his 11-day world tour. His visit to Belarus will focus on economy - the Venezuelan president intends to sign several trade deals," the STV television said late on Friday.

Chavez visited Belarus last year with a large group of businessmen and met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The presidents issued a joint statement on boosting energy and trade cooperation.

Belarus, which has no hydrocarbon resources of its own, heavily depends on energy supplies from Russia and is seeking to diversify energy imports.

State-run Belarusian oil producer, Belorusneft, which opened a representative office in Venezuela in 2007, has already established a joint venture, Petrolera BeloVenezolana, jointly with Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company PdVSA for oil exploration and production.



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