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Venezuela's Chavez arrives on first official visit in Belarus

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived on the first official visit in Belarus at the invitation of President Alexander Lukashenko. No official functions are scheduled for the first day of the visit, as bilateral talks will begin Monday.

This will be the first time that Lukashenko and Chavez meet each other in person.

"The Presidents will discuss key international problems, bilateral cooperation, and expansion of bilateral contacts in the format of the UN and the Movement of Non-Aligned countries," Lukashenko’s press service said.

Both Presidents have identical positions on many aspects of international situation.

They have spoken many a time in favor of creating a multipolar world and have openly criticized U.S. activity in the international arena.

Trade relations will be high on the agenda of their talks.

Belarussian-Venezuelan trade stood at 15.5 million U.S. dollars last year, and exports of potassium fertilizers from Belarus made up a sizable share in it. Imports from Venezuela did not exceed a mere 20,000 U.S. dollars and mostly consisted of automobile spare parts and equipment.

The itinerary of Chavez’s visit includes trips to a number of historic and cultural sites and a tour of a defense university.

The sides also plan signing a range of bilateral agreements during the visit. The Belarussian Foreign Ministry said in a laconic commentary they are aimed at "establishing full-scale cooperation."

A Venezuelan delegation led by Hugo Chavez’s brother, Adan Chavez Friaz who is Venezuela’s ambassador to Cuba, made a trip to Belarus at the end of June. Chavez Frias said then the forthcoming visit had much political significance.

Chavez arrived in Belarus after a summit of the countries making up South America’s Common Market (MERCOSUR). //Itar-Tass

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