Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin has met President Hugo Chavez on his first official visit to Venezuela to deepen miltary and commerical ties between the two countries.
The two men signed an accord to drill for oil and in Venezuela’s Orinoco river basin, eventually extract ingsome 450,000 barrels per day from the region.
Chavez had been looking for foreign investment to exploit his country’s untapped oil reserves.
The Venezuelan president has enjoyed cordial relations with Moscow, signing miltary deals worth over 3 billion euros since 2005.
He wants to boost its defence arsenal against what he perceives to be threat of a US-led invasion.
Putin, who was welcomed with full miltary honours, also toured a Russian navy vessel station in Caracas to train Venezuelan sailors.
Aside from his meeting with Chavez, Putin also met with Bolivan President Evo Morales to discuss a separate oil and gas venture.