Sechin Takes Team to Venezuela

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin arrived in Venezuela on Tuesday on the second leg of a Latin American tour aimed at boosting economic ties.

Sechin, accompanied by representatives from several ministries and large companies, was to hold talks with local officials from the energy, financial, transportation, science, education and agricultural sectors, RIA-Novosti reported.

The trip is the latest sign of stronger ties between the two countries, following the flight of two Russian bombers to Venezuela last week, the first landing of Russian military aircraft in the Western Hemisphere since the Cold War ended. The two countries also plan to hold joint military exercises later this year.

On Monday, Sechin made his second trip to Cuba in as many months to strengthen commercial ties and evaluate hurricane damage. Sechin said an agreement had been reached with Cuba to boost partnership in energy, pharmaceutics, agriculture and transportation, RIA-Novosti reported.

Sechin promised more aid, including equipment for the badly damaged electricity system and food, following hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The two hurricanes slammed Cuba 10 days apart and did an estimated $11 billion in combined damage to the island.

Sechin visited Cuba in August on a trip billed as the reactivation of "traditional relations" between the island and Russia.

MT, Reuters