Hugo Chavez (translated from Spanish through Russian): Good afternoon everyone.
We are very happy with our meeting with the President. Our meeting with the President was very pleasant, very fruitful. We examined the future prospects for our cooperation in detail. And we also looked at how our bilateral relations are developing. We have various strategic directions that we would like to further develop.
I consider our cooperation in the energy sector to be of primary importance. We examined issues linked to developing cooperation between major Russian and Venezuelan companies. We were very glad to acknowledge that firms such as Lukoil and Gazprom are already working in Venezuela and will soon start to develop deposits located both in the sea and on land. I think that this is one of today’s best results and a very important step forward in developing our bilateral relations. Mr President, you know, and all of Russia must know, that oil reserves in Venezuela continue to grow. And as we continue prospecting and drilling our oil stocks are doubling. We can take the stocks around the Orinoco River as an example; there, our oil reserves are estimated at approximately 270 billion barrels. This will make Venezuela the OPEC country with the world’s largest oil reserves, since our reserves will even be greater than Saudi Arabia’s. And we are glad to reveal that Lukoil and all of its experience, technology and determination, will work in the region surrounding the Orinoco River.
We know that world energy security was the central theme of the G8 that was recently held in St Petersburg. And I think, please let me say, that you were right to raise this issue; opportunities to ensure energy security represent one of the most important issues for humanity. And considering what was said, the size of the oil deposits that we have, and the significance of our countries on the international arena, I think that Russia and Venezuela should play a very significant role in the world’s future development. And this is the reason that we are resolved to look for solutions to these problems together.
All of this also applies to the gas sphere. We are very pleased to note that Gazprom made the decision to work with us in southern Venezuela. Venezuela also owns one of the most important gas reserves in the American continent and in the world. Russia’s support in constructing this major gas pipeline that will run from Venezuela until the southern part of Latin America, to Rio de la Plata – about eight thousand kilometers – is very important for us. Around 20 billion USD of capital investments are needed for this project. The governments of Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina are working very actively towards implementing this project. We have a firm political will to see it implemented and have already established six working groups to ensure this project goes ahead. Not long ago the governments of Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia agreed to join this project. You know, Mr President, that all of this is being done within the framework of Mercosur.
We examined issues related to developing our relations in other areas. I am pleased to note that both Venezuela and Russia are developing their industries, economies, agriculture and social spheres. In turn, this has a great significance for the world as a whole.
We also considered the very interesting prospects for our military technological cooperation. I have already had the opportunity to thank President Putin and would like to do so in front of you for his firm support in this field. In the face of pressure and even an embargo that they wanted to impose on us, Russia lent us a helping hand. I have already said and I would like to repeat that 5 July, [Venezuela’s] Independence Day, everyone was gripped by a feeling of triumph when two Sukhoi airplanes appeared in Venezuela’s clear sky. When we give our soldiers Kalashnikovs, this will provide them with a special moral firmness. The Kalashnikovs are replacing guns from the 1940s for which we no longer have any spare parts.
In summary, we have attained very impressive achievements while we developed our relations, especially in this past year. And we are full of determination, Mr President, to continue to move forward in this direction.
I would also like to thank President Putin for supporting Venezuela’s candidature as a non-permanent Security Council member.
Once again I repeat that we examined all these issues and noted huge achievements in all these areas.
I am very grateful for the attention of Mr President and all of his team. Just a few hours before I leave Russia I would like to thank not only those who are present here but also those who supported us in Volgograd, in Udmurtiya. For the warm reception that was given to us. Today we unveiled a bust of Simon Bolivar in the Foreign Literature Library in Moscow. He is a symbol of our struggle. Miranda and Bolivar dreamed of a world in which there is equilibrium, justice and peace.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: First of all I would like to thank President Hugo Chavez for accepting our invitation and coming on a working visit to Russia. The Russian party is satisfied with the results of this working visit. Our discussions were very frank and quite productive.
Relations between Russia and Venezuela go back more than 150 years.
I am very glad to see that we are witnessing the development and expansion of our bilateral ties. And to a certain degree this is connected with the economic successes that President Hugo Chavez is achieving today in his country’s economy. Economic growth of more than eight percent a year is a figure that every country can envy.
I am very pleased to note that we have good relations in practically all areas in which we cooperate. We are actively cooperating in the international arena and believe that the world order should be firmly based on international law. We are in favour of a multipolar world. And certainly we shall support Venezuela in its legitimate aspirations to take a place as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Certainly, the oil and gas sectors are the most promising and interesting branches in which we cooperate. And I am very pleased to note that our leading companies are making their first steps onto the Venezuelan market.
At the same time our interaction is not limited to the energy sector. The financial and investment sectors, engineering, the mining industry, the metallurgical industry, the chemical industry, transport and, of course, military and technological cooperation are all promising spheres.
Cooperation between Russia and Venezuela is not directed against any third country. Our cooperation is based on developing the economies of both our states and raising the living standards of our population.
Russia will be a reliable partner for Venezuela just the same as it will be for any other of our partners on the international scene.
Today we set out concrete steps for developing our cooperation, including with respect to strengthening the legal basis for our cooperation. I was pleased to note that Russian companies are increasingly interested in working with their Venezuelan partners. The possibilities offered by private investments by Russian companies can be measured in hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. The efforts of private Russian investors will certainly be supported by the Government of the Russian Federation.
I was very pleased to see today that Mr President, the same as the Russian side, is paying serious attention to developing ties in the spheres of culture and education. Our relations are taking on not only a profound but a multifaceted character. We will do everything to implement all the plans that we have laid out today.
I wish to thank Mr President and all the members of his delegation for their constructive work today and I hope for your support in implementing the plans we have laid out.