Chavez finalises Russian arms deal


U.S. criticised
"Russia will be a reliable partner for Venezuela, as well as for all our partners in the world," Mr. Putin said after talks with the Venezuelan leader.

"Cooperation between Russia and Venezuela is not directed against third countries," the Russian leader added.

Mr. Chavez, an outspoken critic of Washington, praised Russia for defying the U.S. arms blockade, describing the U.S. as "the biggest threat which exists in the world." "It is a senseless, blind, stupid giant which doesn’t understand the world, doesn’t understand human rights, doesn’t understand anything about humanity, culture and consciousness," the Venezuelan leader said while unveiling a bust of 19th century South American liberation hero Simon Bolivar at a Moscow library on Thursday.

Mr. Putin said Russian companies were prepared to invest "hundreds of millions and billions of dollars" in Venezuela. He also promised to support Venezuela for rotating membership in the U.N. Security Council over U.S.-backed Guatemala.

Mr. Chavez said he had invited Russia to join the construction of the world’s longest gas pipeline across South America. It is Mr. Chavez’s fourth visit to Russia in five years.

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