Expanding economic and trade ties between Russia and Venezuela will be the central topic during Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's visit to Caracas this week. This is the opinion of Russian foreign trade experts who spoke to RIA Novosti. They said that currently the trade volume between the two countries has a potential to be higher. According to the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry, in the first six months of 2001, the Russian-Venezuelan trade volume totaled $27.6 million. Russian exports to Venezuela in the period from January to June amounted to $3.1 million, and imports were $24.5 million. Last year, the two countries' trade volume grew 4.5 times in comparison with 1999 and reached $65.1 million. Russian exports to Venezuela in 2000 were worth $10.3 million, which is more than 4 times higher than that in the previous year. In 2000, Russia imported Venezuelan goods for the total amount of $54.8 million. The core items in the Russian exports to Venezuela's markets are rolled metal and fertilisers. Venezuela supplies Russia virtually only with alumina and artificial corundum.
U.S. Justice Department is acting behind the scenes to have Assange extradicted from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and prosecuted in the U.S.