Venezuela and Iran sign new Cooperation Accords

Following private talks on Monday evening, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad issued a joint declaration ratifying their countries’ ties. The document stressed their satisfaction with ongoing bilateral cooperation.

Prior to the signing of the declaration, Venezuelan and Iranian officials signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at the training of specialists and the exchange of expertise in the field of nanotechnology.

Both countries also signed an agreement in the sectors of mining and trade, which paves the way for a joint program.

Chavez said that Iran’s cooperation with Venezuela has helped the construction of 10,000 homes, while another 7,000 housing units will be finished this year. The housing program expects to build a total of 34,000 homes to benefit 70,000 Venezuelans.

Chavez also underscored Iran’s technical contribution to the development of the local food industry (fruits, milk and fish), as well as a corn processing plant, which was inaugurated on Monday in the state of Guarico. The industry has capacity to produce 17,000 tons of processed corn annually.

In the metal and heavy equipment sector, Chavez stressed the development of plants manufacturing vehicles like tractors and bicycles. He said, in all 33 plants have been built or are still under construction, as the effort aims at expanding the Venezuelan economy beyond oil exploitation.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela on Sunday as part of a four-nation Latin American tour. His next stop was Nicaragua on Tuesday to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of President Daniel Ortega, who assumes a new five-year mandate.

Ahmadinejad will hold bilateral meetings with Ortega to prepare a series of cooperation agreements between Managua and Teheran, according to Telesur TV.

The Iranian president will visit Cuba on Wednesday where he will meet with President Raul Castro, and will give a key lecture at the University of Havana.

The last leg of Ahmadinejad’s Latin American tour is Ecuador, where he will arrive on Thursday.

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