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Chavez blames U.S. invasion of Iraq for soaring oil prices
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10:15, March 28, 2008

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is partly to blame for rising oil prices.

Oil producing countries are not to be held responsible for the surge in oil prices, but the United States is "partially to blame" for it, Chavez told a press conference during a visit to Recife in northeastern Brazil.

During this visit, Chavez met his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the two countries' state-owned oil and gas companies, Petrobras and PDVSA, signed a cooperation agreement.

Chavez said as a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela favors the fixing-price system that has worked well for three years, but the U.S. invasion of Iraq has brought instability to the market.

Venezuela is not interested in oil price hikes, and on the contrary, it hopes to see prices stabilize and that the U.S. economic crisis does not worsen.

"May they leave that situation quickly, but they will obviously have to revise their economic policies, which have affected the whole world so much," he said.

Chavez also pointed out that Venezuela and Brazil have not been harmed by the financial crisis, thanks to the diversification of their exports.

The two countries should seek more common ground and further promote their ties, the Venezuelan president added.


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