President Vladimir Putin: Allow me to wish you a warm welcome to Moscow. The President and I have had the opportunity to spend practically the entire morning together. You could say that our talks began at breakfast, continued at a small meeting in narrow format with our colleagues and have been going on for several hours now quite informally.
I would like now to welcome all of our colleagues to this enlarged meeting.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the President of Venezuela and his colleagues on their victory in the referendum that took place in your country. Your victory was convincing and has defused the internal tensions in Venezuela. We are very happy to see this, Mr President, and we wish you and your supporters a stronger economy and social sphere, a stable domestic political situation and the most positive growth.
Just recently I was in Chile, where I met with a large number of Latin American leaders, and then I also visited Brazil. They all have very warm feelings for your people and asked me to pass on their most sincere congratulations on the victory in the referendum and their best wishes for success.
I hope that Russian-Venezuelan relations will be a significant factor in stabilising relations in Venezuela and developing our two countries.
Russia and Venezuela are both major oil-producing countries and the situation on the international energy market depends to a great extent on the state of our energy sectors. A lot depends on our responsible behaviour. Not only the energy sector, however, but other areas of cooperation are also a great priority for us, and this is precisely the aim of today’s meeting – to discuss these issues and make progress on them.
Allow me once again to wish you a warm welcome to Russia.
President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez: Thank you very much, Mr President. It is a great honour for us to hear these words from you, an honour for all of us. This is our Foreign Minister, Dr Ali Rodriguez, the Minister for Communications and Information, our ambassador, who you already know, this is Samuel Muncado, one of my political advisers, the Defence Minister and the President of Venezuelan company Vayano, which is involved in aluminium, iron, gold and other metals. This is the head of my administration, the Trade and Industry Minister and our interpreter. Thank you.
This is now our third visit to Moscow. We have always encountered great solidarity from you and your colleagues and from everyone we have met here. Despite the snow, we feel at home in Moscow.