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Russia Offers Venezuela Nuclear Help

VOA News 03 April 2010

Russia has agreed to help Venezuela draw up plans to build a nuclear power plant.

Atomic energy was one of many areas of cooperation discussed as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his first trip to the South American country.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday the goal of the power plant is to develop nuclear energy for "peaceful purposes," and not to develop a bomb.

The two leaders also signed agreements aimed at deepening their countries' financial and military ties.

They formalized an agreement to establish a joint venture for oil and gas exploration in eastern Venezuela.

Mr. Putin finished his trip to Venezuela Friday by meeting with both Bolivian President Evo Morales and President Chavez in Caracas.

Mr. Chavez has forged close ties with Russia in recent years and has spent more than $4 billion on Russian-made weapons. Venezuela relies on China and Russia as its main military suppliers.

The United States has previously cautioned Venezuela against continuing its arms buildup, warning its actions could endanger regional stability.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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