Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Tehran late Wednesday on the fifth leg of a tour to prepare for a September OPEC summit in Caracas, the official IRNA news agency reported. He was welcomed at the airport by Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the agency said.
Chavez, who has already been to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, will be holding talks about the summit Thursday with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. According to his tour programme, Chavez is due to visit Iraq, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria and Algeria, before returning to Caracas August 15, but IRNA reports that he will also be travelling to Pakistan after Tehran.
The inclusion of Iraq in his trip has been severely criticised by the United States.
During his visit to Abu Dhabi, Chavez met Crown Prince Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who said the United Arab Emirates was working to guarantee the stability of the oil market and "the maintenance of the production level in line with the strategy put in place by OPEC (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries)."
OPEC was founded in Baghdad in 1960. The Caracas summit of September 27-30 will be the organisation's second after the 1975 summit in Algiers.
© Agence France Presse 2000
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