Maduro, Putin tout Russian-Venezuelan economic ties

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following talks in Moscow's Kremlin on Tuesday. Discussion during the meeting focused on the development of bilateral relations between Russia and Venezuela, such as oil and gas agreements. Maduro is set to attend the opening of a street in the north of Moscow, recently named in honour of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5 after leading the country for 14 years. Putin highlighted economic ties during the press conference, stating that trade and economic relations between Russia and Venezuela have risen to a new level, and that their companies have a large-scale investment plan of more that $20 billion. President Putin is also set to meet with Bolivian President Evo Morales and outgoing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following the second Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) held in the Russian capital on July 1. The GECF includes Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq, Kazakhstan, Norway and the Netherlands also hold Observer Member status at the forum, which in total accounts for some 62 percent of the world's proven natural gas reserves. The first GCEF Gas Summit was held in Doha in 2011.

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