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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 02:53 GMT
Chavez in Argentina trade talks
Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez has been pushing Latin American integration
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived in Argentina for talks with President Nestor Kirchner.

Mr Chavez is expected to discuss Venezuela's integration into regional trading bloc Mercosur.

It is the latest stop in a regional tour for Mr Chavez following his sweeping re-election victory on Sunday.

He held talks on regional integration and joint energy projects in Brazil on Thursday and will attend a regional summit in Bolivia that starts Friday.

After his meeting with the left-leaning Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mr Chavez said that "Venezuela wants to extend its arms to Brazil and South America".

'Decadent government'

The two presidents agreed to resume technical studies of a plan to build a 5,600 mile (9,000km) gas pipeline which would stretch from Venezuela to Argentina.

The project's critics say it will destroy Amazon rainforest and cost much more than estimated.

Before the talks, Mr Chavez said that Brazil was far more important to Venezuela than the US, which he said was currently presided over by a decadent government.

Mr Chavez has been trying to forge greater South American integration as a means of limiting US influence on the continent, says the BBC's correspondent in Buenos Aires, Daniel Schweimler.

His regional tour is taking the socialist president to friendly countries.

After Argentina, he stops briefly in Uruguay before heading to Bolivia where he will be greeted by his ally President Evo Morales.

Also there will be Ecuador's President-elect Rafael Correa, a leftist economist who calls himself a personal friend of Mr Chavez.

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04 Dec 06 |  Americas

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