Thousands of Syrians lined the streets of their capital Wednesday waving banners welcoming Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who opened his visit with a pledge to stand by Syria in strong opposition to the US government's "imperialistic" aggression in the Middle East.
"We have the same political vision and we will resist together the American imperialist aggression," Chavez told reporters upon his arrival at Damascus airport late Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad hosted Chavez at the hilltop People's Palace, where the two leaders strolled down a red carpet alongside a 21-gun salute. A marching band played both national anthems as the leaders reviewed the honor guard.
Officials of both governments will sign a document opposing Washington's "aggression" in the Middle East, Chavez said.
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