Sunday, February 01, 2009

Obama and Chavez to meet in Trinidad in April

[Thanks to Kevin @ Free Democracy for this link] By Oscar Ramjeet Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent Email: PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: United States President, Barack Obama will have a face-to-face meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez in April in Port of Spain, when the two leaders will be among three dozen heads of government and state at the three day Summit of the Americas. This information was confirmed by Summit Secretariat Communications Co-ordinator, Felipe Noguera.
US President Barack Obama. Bloomberg Photo
Top of the agenda of the Summit will be burning energy issues in which both the United States and Venezuela have a keen interest. The Trinidad Express reported that Noguera told newsmen that Secretariat Chairman, Ambassador Carlos Luis Alberto Rodriguez indicated that Venezuela and the USA were at loggerheads on energy issues to be highlighted in the Declaration of Port of Spain. The declaration -- outlining policy goals in coming years for the 34 countries in the Americas in the fields of energy, education, environment and health -- will be signed by the leaders during the April 17-19 summit. Asked to identify the contentious energy issues between the two countries, Noguera noted, "Any energy related issues that exist or emerge between the United States and Venezuela will be discussed during the Summit by both leaders who are expected to be present." He added that the Secretariat was not at liberty to discuss the issue publicly. Chavez has been at loggerheads for months with former US President George W Bush accusing him of being a warmonger. Two months ago he expelled the US Ambassador to Venezuela. Since Obama took office on January 20, however, Chavez has toned down his anti-US rhetoric, even saying he has great expectations of the new US President. Noguera confirmed also that two cruise ships had already been booked to provide floating hotel space to accommodate visitors for the Summit. Works and Transport Minister, Colm Imbert had said a week ago that every available room in hotels and guesthouses have been booked, forcing the Government to lease the cruise ships.

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