Chavez accuses Obama of sowing 'doubt' on nuclear deal
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday accused his US counterpart Barack Obama of deliberately sowing "doubt" on his country's nuclear plant deal with Moscow for political ends.
"President Obama has started a war by spreading doubt with his words. He asked that we do not use the plant to produce nuclear arms," Chavez said at a joint news conference in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Of course we will conform, but Obama has sowed doubt," he said.
On Tuesday, Obama said he had no objection to Venezuela developing nuclear power for civilian energy purposes, days after Caracas and Moscow signed a landmark deal.
"We have no incentive nor interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the US, but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly," Obama said.
"Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power," he said, adding that as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty it must also meet its obligations not to weaponise those systems.
Chavez, whose relations with Washington have long been tense, clinched a deal in Moscow on October 15 that will see Russia build and operate the first nuclear power plant in Venezuela.
During a visit earlier this week to Tehran, which in contrast is an ally of Caracas but which Washington suspects of working to develop nuclear weapons, Chavez pledged to stand by Tehran's side "under any circumstances."
© 2010 AFP