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Russia and Brazil heads push ties

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on 26 November
The leaders of Russia and Brazil are keen to have a say in global matters

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is ending a visit to Brazil, holding talks with President Lula on boosting trade and technical co-operation.

The two leaders agreed that the world's four major emerging markets - their nations, India and China - should hold their first summit next year.

Mr Medvedev flies next to Venezuela for talks with President Hugo Chavez.

His visit to Caracas coincides with the start of joint naval exercises by Russian and Venezuelan forces.

At their talks in Rio de Janeiro, President Medvedev and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed their view that the "BRIC" countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - should hold their first summit in Russia in 2009, Reuters reports.

"The financial crisis, which we haven't started and we are not to blame for, affected the global economic situation and we are forced to react," Mr Medvedev told reporters.

"We agreed with President Lula that we will co-ordinate our efforts with Brazil in fighting the crisis and creating a new global financial architecture."

The BRIC nations formed part of the G20 summit in Sao Paulo earlier this month, which brought together finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world's 20 major economies.

Brazil and other emerging-market nations do not feel that under the current set-up they have sufficient representation within bodies like the IMF and the World Bank.

Timing

Mr Medevev's talks in Brazil form part of a Latin American tour aimed at boosting Russia's presence and trade ties in a region of considerable strategic importance to the US.

The timing of Mr Medvedev's tour is significant, coming during the transition period between the Bush and Obama administrations in the US, says BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

Russian sailors line up on the deck of their ship as they arrive in Vwenezuela
The joint exercises are due to begin at sea on 1 December

The Russian president's aim is to show Washington that if the US does things in Europe near Russia's borders which Moscow does not like, then Russia can pursue its own policies in a region long seen by Washington as its backyard, our correspondent says.

Russian warships, including the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, sailed into Venezuelan waters on Tuesday, greeted by a 21-gun salute.

Military co-operation is likely to be high on the agenda of Mr Medvedev's talks with President Chavez.

Russia is already a major arms supplier to Venezuela, with contracts worth some $4.4bn (2.39bn).

During his visit to Caracas, Mr Medvedev could sign an accord under which Russia would help Venezuela build a nuclear energy plant in the state of Zulia.

The two countries already co-operate closely on energy matters, with their state-owned energy companies embarking on joint enterprises.

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