Chavez, Ahmadinejad sign agreements

Caracas, Nov 27 (EFE) President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have consolidated a relationship here that the former called “exemplary”. They signed new accords and gave speeches defending their cooperation.

In a signing ceremony for several joint projects at Miraflores Palace Wednesday, the two leaders agreed that “accusations of violence” against them were a “joke” before confirming that their cooperation was designed to “build (a good) life” for their people and denouncing Washington’s responsibility in conflicts and crisis situations around the world.

“In truth, it seems like a joke that they are accusing us of violence,” asserted Chavez, echoing the words spoken shortly before that by his Iranian counterpart.

The two men responded to US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, who had said that he hoped that Caracas would emphasise to Ahmadinejad “the concerns that the international community has regarding his nuclear programme, his presumed support for terrorism and the situation of human rights.”

The Iranian leader said that the true concern lies in “the nuclear and chemical arsenals”, as well as the repeated “threats of military invasion”, referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On numerous occasions during the more than three hours that the ceremony lasted, both men denounced those who “are attacking” them, a clear allusion to the US, which they called the “Yankee empire”, and they confirmed that the cooperation of their two countries is being pursued in the “service of the people.”

At the ceremony at Miraflores, Chavez and Ahmadinejad presided at the signing of 12 cooperation agreements in the areas of energy, transportation and housing, among others, after holding a meeting behind closed doors for more than three hours.

Chavez said that there already exist 129 bilateral cooperation projects between the two nations and that another 68 have been evaluated in recent weeks.