Beginning of Meeting with President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez 2008-09-26 17:53:37 Orenburg President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, Dear Hugo, It is my pleasure to welcome this delegation from friendly Venezuela. This is not your first day in Russia. You held talks in Moscow yesterday. The dynamic of our relations shows how solid a foundation our ties have and how quickly and successfully our contacts are developing at every level. Today we are meeting in Orenburg, but this will not prevent us from doing some good works, that is, signing a number of agreements that will strengthen our cooperation. I am talking here about economic cooperation and cooperation in the military sphere. I want to thank you for the very well organised training visit that our Tu-160 strategic bombers made recently to your country. Soon, at the end of November, we will hold sizeable joint naval exercises. All of this is evidence of the strategic framework our relations are taking on. I am sure that your visit now will bring new results. Thank you for passing on the greetings from our friends in Latin America. This is something we value very much. We will discuss the situation in the world, developments in Latin America and Europe, especially in light of the lessons of the Caucasus crisis that took place in August. We are grateful to Venezuela for the moral support it gave Russia during these events. Once again, I am pleased to welcome you, dear Hugo, and all of the Venezuelan delegation to Orenburg. I hope our talks will be productive. President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez: Thank you, President and friend! I express my greetings and warmest feelings to you and the entire Russian people. The world turns ever faster and a new geopolitical dynamic is emerging, and we therefore move faster too. We met in Moscow two months ago and now we are meeting here in Orenburg. Thank you very much for the invitation and especially for this chance to get to know this beautiful part of the south of Russia – Orenburg, the Ural Mountains, Eurasia. We arrived just as the sun was rising. I have many greetings to pass on to you: from Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Hu Jintao, and Vladimir Putin. Dmitry Medvedev: A separate thanks for this one. Hugo Chavez: We are very happy. Here I have my Foreign Minister, Minister of Heavy Industry and Mining, Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for European affairs, Minister of Energy and Oil Industry, and Minister of Agriculture. I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our modest but resolute support for the actions Russia undertook in the Caucasus. We are well aware of the causes of this conflict. We know who attacked the peaceful people of South Ossetia. We were in Moscow a week before this happened. So our support is modest but it is complete and resolute. I am very grateful to the President for the Russian Air Force strategic bombers’ visit to Venezuela. This was an important opportunity for our cooperation. The Russian soldiers, officers and generals made the deepest impression on our military and people. Someone to the north of our continent said these were old planes, but we were thrilled with these excellent Tu-160 aircraft. Once again, Mr President, I would like to thank you for this meeting. It is very timely given the current situation in the world. I read the head of the International Monetary Fund’s statement this morning. The financial crisis in the United States and other regions is terrible and it is hard to even imagine what the consequences will be. Of course, we made a thorough analysis of this situation yesterday evening with the Prime Minister. Fortunately, Russia, Venezuela and other countries are moving ahead and developing a mechanism that will enable us to lessen the impact of this crisis. Our cooperation is growing and becoming stronger. Only two weeks ago we received a visit from our friend and comrade Igor Sechin [Deputy Prime Minister of Russia]. This was an excellent visit. We looked at all the circumstances of our cooperation and fixed a date for the bilateral intergovernmental commission’s next meeting. There are a whole series of important matters to deal with, for example, setting up the joint Russian-Venezuelan bank, and the proposal that you and Mr Putin sent us on establishing an oil and gas consortium between Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. and Gazprom. Fortunately, we are ahead of the crisis and it will not catch us up. So, let’s keep moving.