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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Brazil reassured on Venezuela-US
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva
Lula took 14 questions at his first news conference since 2003
Brazil's president says his concerns over tensions between the US and Venezuela have been dispelled after talks with the US secretary of state.

Washington regards Venezuela as a destabilising influence in the region.

But Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said he did not "see any chance of a major conflict", at his first news conference since taking office in early 2003.

The leader reiterated his belief that Brazil deserved a permanent seat on the United Nations Security council.

Adding members from Africa, Asia and Latin America will contribute to the "democratisation" of the UN and the Council, he said, quoted by the Associated Press.

Mutual dependency

Correspondents say Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez prompted US concern this week with a visit to Cuba.

Venezuela needs the United States and the United States needs Venezuela
Luis Inacio Lula da Silva

The leftist countries took steps to strengthen their relationship and their shared opposition to a free trade zone for the Americas, led by the US.

But Brazil's president, known as Lula, said Wednesday's talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were reassuring.

"I think giant strides are being made toward a harmonious relationship," he said, pledging Brazilian assistance.

The key was US dependence on Venezuela as an oil supplier, Lula said.

"The United States is Venezuela's largest importer of oil, therefore Venezuela needs the United States and the United States needs Venezuela.

"There is no reason for these two to be fighting," he added.

In a wide-ranging conference, Lula also said that Brazil's economic recovery was strong.

"The dependency on the IMF [International Monetary Fund] should belong to history," he said.

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