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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:51, August 31, 2006
Chavez calls for ending Israeli blockade on Lebanon
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Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday in Damascus called for ending Israeli air and sea blockade on Lebanon and an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.

Chavez made the call at a joint press conference with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a plenary meeting of senior officials from the two sides and a closed-door meeting between the two presidents.

Chavez denounced the Israeli offensives in Lebanon as "Nazi crimes", calling on the Jewish state to withdraw forces from Lebanon and lift the blockade as well as end its massacres of the Palestinian people and withdraw from the Golan Heights.

"This territory (the Golan) does not belong to them (the Israelis). This is a flagrant theft carried out in front of the whole world," he added.

Meanwhile, Chavez also pledged solidarity with Syria in opposition to the U.S. "imperialism" and "domination" in the Middle East.

"Syria and Venezuela share the same firm positions and a resistance to imperialism and imperialist aggression," Chavez said, predicting that "this age will witness the end of American imperialism".

"We have decided to be free. We want to cooperate to build a new world where states' and people's self-determination are respected," Chavez said.

For his part, Assad expressed his appreciation to Chavez's support to Syria's position on Middle East issues.

Assad also criticized recent UN Security Council resolutions on the Middle East as "an interference in states' internal affairs" and "the result of American hegemony".

"If the United Nations adopts more resolutions based on the same principle, it will only crush optimism and might lead to further chaos and bloodshed," Assad said.

Meanwhile, Assad said his country supports Venezuela's campaign for a rotating non-permanent seat at the Security Council.

The two sides also inked several agreements and cooperation protocols in various fields, such as oil, energy, trade, agriculture, transport and construction.

Chavez, currently on a three-day state visit, was a fierce critic of Israel's month-long offensives on Lebanon, who had recalled his ambassador to Israel after the war began.

Both Syria and Venezuela have been under pressure from the United States as Caracas has witnessed tense relations with Washington since Chavez took office in 1999 and Damascus has been always accused by Washington of supporting terrorism and thus under U.S. economic sanctions since May 2004.

Upon his arrival late Tuesday evening, Chavez hailed fraternal ties between the two countries and their "same political vision" on world issues, particularly the "decisive and principled position against the imperialism and bids of hegemony coming from the American empire."

Source: Xinhua

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