CARACAS: Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez confirmed Monday that he will meet in Caracas with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after his Iranian counterpart takes part in the Rio+20 conference in Brazil, though no exact date was given.
"This visit by Ahmadinejad is an important one. We have a number of bilateral cooperation deals being developed in areas from housing to technical cooperation and industry," Chavez said by phone in remarks carried on VTV official television.
Chavez said the visit by the Iranian president as well as one by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, announced in June, were "confirmed but the dates and times have yet to be set."
Chavez noted that Iran and Venezuela also engage in military cooperation. On Wednesday, he unveiled an unmanned aircraft built with Iranian help, a first for Venezuela.
The two countries have invested about five billion dollars in factories to make cement, satellites, food, tractors and bicycles.
Under escalating pressure from the West over its disputed nuclear program, Iran has sought closer political and economic relations with countries far and wide, including many in Latin America.
The UN-sponsored Rio+20 summit, expected to be attended by 116 world leaders on June 20-22, will debate prospects for a "green" economy that can balance economic growth with poverty eradication and protection of the environment. (AFP)