“In particular, this concerns the relatively new structure, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the South American common market,” the minister said.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is a regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean states created in early December 2011 in Caracas, Venezuela.
The bloc consists of 33 sovereign countries in the Americas and encompasses an estimated population of 600 million people. It is meant as a major forum for dealing with regional issues.
Lavrov said Russia is interested in launching a regular political dialogue and establishing cooperation in the Russia-CELAC format. “We will continue expanding ways of our coordination and negotiating practical cooperation projects,” he stressed.
“We appreciate the significant contribution of Venezuela in developing relations between Russia, these and other integration structures of Latin America,” Lavrov said.
The talks are designed to give an impetus to Russian-Venezuelan relations and confirm mutual strive for dynamically developing strategic partnership, which was created with the active participation of Russia’s big and sincere friend, late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said ahead of the meeting.
Venezuela is Russia’s second trade and economic partner in Latin America after Brazil (mutual trade turnover reached $2.45 billion in 2013). Russia’s leading companies such as Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, the National Oil Consortium Inter RAO EES, operate on the Venezuelan market.