Venezuela, Iran to Hold Talks; Seek to Boost Ties Within OPEC

CARACAS (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 17, 2011

Venezuela will host a summit for bilateral talks with Iran next month as the two member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries look to strengthen their alliance.

In a statement, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said President Hugo Chavez spoke to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to organize the summit and "agreed on the need to boost the levels of coordination within OPEC" in a bid to combat "the adverse effects of the economic crisis faced by the world's dominant powers."

Chavez and Ahmedinejad also spoke on the implications of "imperial aggressions" against countries such as Libya and Syria, the ministry's statement said.

Both Venezuela and Iran are fierce critics of the U.S. and other western nations and have looked to strengthen political and economic ties in recent years.

In June, Iran and Venezuela, both known to be fierce oil-price hawks, worked together to block an OPEC agreement to raise oil output, while opponents, including Saudi Arabia, said they planned to increase production to meet higher demand.

Within Venezuela, Iran is helping with financing and construction of housing units, part of an initiative by Chavez as he prepared to bid for another six-year term in next year's elections.

Earlier this month, the two countries signed a $1 billion deal to build 10,000 houses in the South American country over the next 18 months but they didn't say how much each side would be contributing.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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