Venezuela’s leader in Nicaragua for bilateral talks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 5:09pm

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived on Saturday night in Nicaragua to meet with his counterpart Daniel Ortega for talks to increase cooperation between the two Latin American countries.

“We came to strengthen our bilateral ties, to ratify energy ties, (and) to expand our cooperation in the commercial, financial, social, and production sectors,” Maduro said as he arrived in the Nicaraguan capital.

Ortega, who along with his wife Rosario Murillo welcomed the Venezuelan leader at the airport, spoke effusively of the visit, which he said aims to reinforce “the commitment to continue struggling for the unity of Latin American and Caribbean peoples,” state television reported.

The leaders are expected to assess progress on construction of an oil refinery promised by the late Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s long-running leader who died of cancer earlier this year.

A local company has already begun building a complex of tanks, with the capacity to store up to a million barrels of Venezuelan oil.

This is Maduro’s first visit to Nicaragua since winning election on April 14 in a special election called after Chavez’ death.

Venezuela is the main source of aid to the Ortega government, contributing some US$2 billion between 2007 and last year.