Venezuela plans to buy Russian arms

CARACAS, Nov. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuela plans to buy a large number of Russian arms, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Saturday after meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Chavez, who was in Moscow for a visit, was quoted by the Venezuelan daily El Universal as saying in Moscow: "We are modernizing and reinforcing our armed forces to cope with any formof aggression."

According to Chavez, Venezuela will buy Russian assault rifles to strengthen its armed forces. The two presidents also talked about Venezuela's wish to "acquire a large amount of anti-tank andair-defense equipment," Chavez said.

Venezuela has already agreed to purchase Russian helicopters worth of 40 million US dollars, said Chavez, adding that the aircraft could start arriving early in 2005.

Chavez arrived in Moscow on Thursday for a two-day visit.

On Friday, the two sides signed a protocol on the conclusion ofbilateral negotiations on the access to the commodity and service markets in the course of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding between Russia'sLukoil and Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, an agreement on cooperation in containing money laundering and an intergovernmental agreement on fuel and energy cooperation.


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