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Belarus touts anti-air defense system for Venezuela
by Staff Writers
Caracas (AFP) March 16, 2010

File image.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday offered Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a vocal US critic, help in building an anti-air defense system as part of the countries' deeper strategic ties.

"We have proposed to your government and your president sharing the experience of creating a defense system for the state," Lukashenko, visiting Caracas since Monday, told lawmakers. "If your president wants to do so, we will be able to do so very soon."

"And then you can live peacefully, without having to be looking around to see what the rest of the world may do tomorrow, whether they are going to help you or plot against you," argued Lukashenko.

"I am sincerely so very pleased that we have forged a strategic alliance," he added. "Our relations keep getting closer."

Venezuela will from May begin selling 80,000 barrels of oil a day to Belarus, Chavez said earlier after meeting his Belarussian counterpart.

Lukashenko is visiting Caracas to solidify industrial, commercial and diplomatic cooperation between the two nations.

"Even though we have not sold even one barrel of oil to Belarus, we will begin to sell 80,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil to Belarus beginning May 1," Chavez told journalists Monday.

"It will allow us to enter the European market, in the center of Europe, to engage in joint ventures with Belarussian refineries. Belarus is being very generous with us," he added.

Lukashenko arrived in Venezuela Monday for a two-day trip set to include visits to housing built with assistance from his government, as well as Venezuelan gas fields and other petrochemical facilities.


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