Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have denounced the West's "imperialist aggression" in Libya and Syria, the foreign ministry in Caracas said. The statement by the two arch US foes comes amid a NATO air bombing campaign in Libya where rebels are seeking to oust strongman Moamer Kadhafi, and growing pressure from the West for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
During a telephone call late Monday, Chavez and Ahmadinejad "discussed the situation created by the imperialist aggression against Libya and Syria, and agreed to follow up on this issue and increase their efforts to achieve peace," the Venezuelan foreign ministry said. They also agreed to increase mutual coordination in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which both Iran and Venezuela are members, to "examine the adverse affects of the economic crisis of the dominant powers."
The pair said they would convene a high-level meeting in Caracas next month to strengthen political and economic cooperation, the seventh of its kind. Ahmadinejad meanwhile wished a "speedy recovery" to his "brother fighter" Chavez, who has received two rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba following the removal of a cancerous tumor in his pelvic area. Caracas and Tehran have solidified political and trade ties in recent years -- a move which has garnered critical attention from the United States.