Venezuela's Chavez expects visit from Iran leader

Hugo Chavez expects Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to visit him after this month's UN General Assembly, which the Venezuelan leader will be unable to attend because of cancer treatment.

"Ahmadinejad is coming here, at last, after New York," Chavez told reporters Wednesday, without providing further details about the visit.

The two leaders have developed close ties in recent years, united by their opposition to the United States, which both have accused of meddling in their respective regions.

The United States this year slapped sanctions on Venezuela's state oil giant PDVSA for its commercial ties to Iran, which Washington deems in violation of international sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad last visited Caracas in November 2009 and Chavez traveled to Tehran in October 2010.

Chavez -- who is recovering from a third round of chemotherapy after having a cancerous tumor removed in June -- said he would not be able to attend the UN General Assembly later this month but expected it to be "very lively".

He said he hoped the Palestinians would be successful in their bid for statehood and that the international body would condemn the "genocide" carried out in Libya, referring to the revolt against his ally Moamer Kadhafi.

The leftist firebrand Chavez last attended the General Assembly meeting in 2006, when he famously referred to George W. Bush as the "devil" and said the US president had left the UN podium smelling of sulfur.

AFP

Other news