Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Hugo Chávez,Â the presidents, respectively, of Brazil and Venezuela, met June 27 in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, to address economic issues aimed at reinforcing bilateral cooperation between the two South American nations.
The two rulers initialed 21 agreements in the fields of liquefied natural gas, oil and energy, environment cooperation, telecommunications, foodstuff industry, and border surveillance, according to reports from AFP.
"Our relations are now at their peak, like never before in history. Our countries are set to become driving forces in the South American, Latin American and Caribbean integration process," stated Chávez.
Agreements were initialed in the areas of energy, particularly a survey on electric interconnection and a liquefied natural gas supply agreement between state firms PdVSA and Petrobras.
"We are showing that progress can be made toward actual integration among the peoples," said Lula. He stressed he was going back to Brazil feeling "happy" and certain that in Venezuela oil is an instrument to give the society a better future.
Chávez and Lula also initialed border cooperation agreements and pacts authorizing overflights. They also signed a letter of intent between two telecom corporations to lay a submarine fiber optic cable up to the states of Roraima and Amazônia, north Brazil.
Further, three food supply agreements were initialed providing for delivery over the next few months of 12,000 tons of soy oil, and 20,000 tons of chicken meat, among other items.
According to Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, the presidential meeting "allowed for consolidation of political dependability between the two countries," at a time when some experts claim that Chávez and Lula have grown apart.
Pushing aside such rumors, Chávez warmly welcomed Lula at the Miraflores presidential palace, downtown Caracas, where the Brazilian ruler was paid military honors.
Lula was joined by a number of officials including Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobão, and Development Minister Miguel Jorge, as well as Lula's foreign aide Marco Aurélio Garcia.
Also accompanying Lula was Jorge Sergio Gabrielli, Petrobras CEO.
Chávez was joined, among others, by Foreign Minister Maduro, Finance Minister Alí Rodríguez and PdVSA CEO and Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramírez.