Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Chavez vows solidarity with Syria against U.S., Israel

"DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pledged solidarity on Wednesday with Syria in its struggle against Israel and the United States and predicted the demise of U.S. "imperialism."

"Syria and Venezuela share the same firm positions and a resistance to imperialism and imperialist aggression," Chavez told a news conference after talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, speaking in Spanish through an Arab interpreter.

"This age will witness the end of American imperialism," he said, pointing a laser pen at a map of the world showing countries where Washington has intervened militarily or whose governments it has helped to topple over the last 50 years.

Chavez denounced what he called Israel's "Nazi crimes" in Lebanon during the recent war and said the Jewish state should pull its remaining troops out of that country and also out of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in 1967.

"Nothing equals the Nazi crimes Israel has committed in Lebanon and against the Palestinians," said Chavez, who arrived in Syria on Tuesday evening from Malaysia.

Chavez's popularity shot up across the Arab world after he ordered Venezuela's envoy to Israel home earlier this month to protest Israel's military offensive against Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Many civilians died in the fighting.

He has threatened to break off diplomatic ties with Israel."

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