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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Chavez signs deals with Vietnam
By Bill Hayton
BBC News, Hanoi

Venezuelean President Hugo Chavez stands speaking in front a a bust of late president Ho Chi Minh - 31/7/06
Venezuela and Vietnam are to co-operate over energy
The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has said he wants to work more closely with Vietnam as part of his alliance against American imperialism.

In Hanoi, the two countries signed a number of agreements including one on developing oil and gas reserves.

The radical, left-wing President spoke warmly of Vietnam's fight against the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, Vietnam's communist leadership is more interested in co-operating with the United States than confronting it.

This is another leg of a world tour which has already taken President Chavez to Russia, Belarus and Iran.

In Vietnam, the two countries pledged to work together in oil, gas, mining and agriculture.

Cultural cancellations

Mr Chavez's original schedule had included a visit to the military museum which contains the wreckage of shot-down American aircraft.

He was also due to visit the 'Peace Village' which looks after children suffering from health problems blamed on defoliating chemicals used in the war by the US.

However, those elements of his trip have now been cancelled.

Vietnam has worked hard to build closer relations with Washington in the past 15 years.

The US Congress will soon hold a crucial vote which will determine whether Vietnam will join the World Trade Organisation this year.

These issues press more heavily on the current Vietnamese government than talk of alliances against imperialism.

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