Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, and Venezuela, the nation currently heading the OPEC oil cartel, have agreed upon a “New World Order” to work toward “fixing a price for oil,” according to official Russian sources.

Venezuela is a major supplier of imported oil to the United States.

Following a summit meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the two nations, “have found common ground in their approach to the establishment of a New World Order,” and “coordination of Russian and Venezuelan energy policy.”

The statements were reported by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.

Moscow described the summit as a “significant event,” and emphasized the importance of oil-price fixing discussed by the two leaders. According to Moscow, the regulation of world oil prices “predetermined the development of the talks.”

“Coordination of Russian and Venezuelan energy policy is of paramount importance, and the two sides have reached an understanding on that score,” Russia stated.

Responding to Chavez’s offer to form a wider energy cartel, Putin declared, “We take an interest in your proposal to participate in the work of the group seeking approaches to fixing a price for oil.”

Chavez congratulated Russia’s “constructive stand” at last year’s OPEC summit, which retained the cartel’s pricing structure, despite U.S. efforts to lower the per-barrel charge.

Putin described the current price of petroleum products as “normal.”

“Our starting point,” Putin said, “is that all consumers must get a normal price of oil so that they can forecast the development of their economies.”

In the U.S., the Bush administration and, separately, members of the Democratic Party are presenting proposals to offset high oil and gas prices, which are significantly affected by OPEC’s pricing structure.

According to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Agency based upon figures from the year 2000, the United States imported 57 percent of its petroleum consumption. Of the amount of imported oil, 46 percent of the total came from OPEC sources. Venezuela alone accounted for nearly 15 percent of oil imported into the U.S.

Chavez, an admirer of Cuban communist President Fidel Castro, also praised Moscow’s global role. Russia, according to Chavez, will “play an important role in building new international relations,” and declared Russia’s “rebirth” is of “great global significance.”

Cuba receives substantial support from Russia and Venezuela. In December 2000, Putin visited Cuba and substantially increased Cuban-Russian commercial and economic relations. During the visit, Putin declared that Russia and the communist government of Cuba, “hold similar views on key international issues.”

Russia also operates a highly sophisticated electronic surveillance facility on the island.

In October 2000, Chavez agreed to sell Cuba oil at a discount price in return for Cuban medical assistance to his nation. Venezuela is also assisting Havana in development of Cuba’s oil processing facilities.

Both Putin and Chavez agreed upon the central role of the U.N. in the “New World Order,” declaring the “necessity to strengthen the United Nations as a universal mechanism to maintain security in the world.”

In a statement immediately prior to his Moscow visit on May 15 and 16, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan similarly praised Russia as playing, “a prominent role in international affairs … especially in the maintenance of peace and security of the planet.”

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