Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday said he was interested in working with Russia to develop a civilian nuclear power program.
His statement at a televised political rally in Caracas, Venezuela, followed a trip to Russia, where he met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. “We certainly are interested in developing nuclear energy, for peaceful ends of course — for medical purposes and to generate electricity,” Chavez said, noting that Brazil and Argentina have such programs. He said Russia offered to help Venezuela develop a nuclear program, though CNN could not immediately verify his claim. Still, on Friday, Putin said he and Chavez discussed “new opportunities” for cooperation between the two nations. Russia also gave Chavez a $1 billion credit line for weapons to develop military ties between Russia and Venezuela, the Interfax news agency reported. Topics of Chavez’s discussion with Medvedev included joint Venezuela-Russia naval exercises scheduled to take place in November. Earlier in the week, Russia dispatched a naval fleet of warships to the Caribbean, led by the Peter the Great nuclear cruiser.
Chavez reaffirms Russia alliance during visit
Expert: Russia-Venezuela exercises reaction to U.S. moves
After Chavez met with Medvedev, the countries signed bilateral documents concerning energy cooperation, according to the Kremlin.