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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may pay an official visit to Russia
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may pay an official visit to Russia in late July this year, the country's vice president said on Thursday.

Venezuelan Vice-President Ramon Carrizales is currently on an official visit to Moscow and met on Thursday with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov.

"The exact date of the visit has not been confirmed yet, but it may take place at the end of July," the Venezuelan official said.

Zhukov said in turn that Venezuela remains Russia's most important partner in Latin America.

The two countries have been prioritizing cooperation in energy and mining. Russian energy giant Gazprom, the country's largest independent oil producer LUKoil, Russian-British joint oil venture TNK-BP, aluminum giant RusAl and a number of other companies are developing their commercial interests on the Venezuelan market.

Oil-rich Venezuela is also a major purchaser of Russian weapons and hardware. In 2005-2006, Venezuela ordered weaponry from Russia worth $3.4 billion, including 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, Mi-17B multi-role helicopters, Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.


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