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Russia and Venezuela outline steps to strengthen trade and investment ties

The best way to help Venezuelans, Russia's top diplomat believes, is to "expand practical, pragmatic mutually beneficial interaction"

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Moscow and Caracas have outlined joint steps to expand and strengthen trade, economic and investment ties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference following talks with Venezuela’s Executive Vice President Delsy Rodriguez.

"Russia will continue to assist the Venezuelan authorities in solving social and economic problems, in particular through the provision of legitimate humanitarian assistance," Lavrov said.

"We believe that the best way to help Venezuelans is to expand practical, pragmatic mutually beneficial interaction. In this context we have outlined steps that are aimed at strengthening trade, investment, industrial, financial ties in order to develop the agreements that were reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro in December last year in Moscow," he went on.

According to the Russian Foreign Minister, at the talks the parties discussed preparations for the 14th meeting of the high-level intergovernmental commission, which is scheduled for early April this year in Moscow.

"We agreed to use this event for a substantive discussion of the prospects for the implementation of large projects in geological exploration, subsoil use, as well as joint initiatives in the field of pharmaceuticals, information technology, nuclear medicine, peaceful space and in the field of military-technical cooperation," he said.

The Russian minister stressed that it is "inadmissible" to politicize the humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

"The aspects of providing such assistance should be resolved in line with commonly accepted international rules, and should not serve as a pretext for manipulating public opinion, mobilizing anti-government forces and for justifying interventionist plots," he stressed.

According to him, the Venezuelan government is ready to cooperate on humanitarian issues with the relevant UN agencies.