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Chavez to discuss joint banking venture during Moscow visit

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he will discuss plans to set up a joint Russian-Venezuelan banking venture during his visit to Moscow on July 22.

Addressing leaders of Caribbean countries at the PetroCaribe summit on Sunday, Chavez said: "the establishment of a joint bank will enhance our countries' economic and financial independence and contribute to an increase in investment, to the benefit of both nations."

Venezuela's state radio RNV said the government has already adopted amendments to laws on the Central Bank in preparation for setting up the joint venture.

Chavez also urged PetroCaribe summit participants to establish financial institutions that would be independent of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with nations such as Russia, Belarus, China, India and Iran.

He said the time had come for "a strategic energy alliance" with these countries, and noted that Venezuela recently set up a $6 billion development fund with China.

The socialist leader, an outspoken critic of Washington and opponent of neoliberalism, has focused his foreign policy on bolstering ties with countries outside the U.S. sphere of influence since coming to power nine years ago.

Chavez said last week he expected to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and discuss a number of industrial and technological projects as part of a visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations.

PetroCaribe is a regional energy security alliance between Caribbean countries and Venezuela established in 2005. The alliance enables its 17 member countries to purchase Venezuelan oil under a flexible credit payment system.

RIA Novosti

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