Putin: Russia seeks closer military cooperation with Venezuela


www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-23 03:36:48

MOSCOW, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday expressed his hope for closer military cooperation with Venezuela during his talks with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at his residence near Moscow.

"We have recently been strengthening the legal base for our cooperation, searching for ways to diversify our relations through new cooperation areas, namely transport, space, high-tech production, and of course military and technical cooperation," Putin was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Chavez, for his part, thanked Putin for his support to Venezuela. "I want to thank you for the actions and decisions you have firmly taken and made in our support," he said.

Putin accepted the president's invitation to visit Venezuela, saying the visit time would be convenient for both countries.

Venezuela has bought over 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, and 100,000 Ak-103 rifles from Russia, and also holds a license for their production. Moscow plans to start supplying Venezuela with at least ten Mi-28N helicopters in the second half of 2009.

The two countries have also negotiated the delivery of three Russian Project 636 Kilo-class diesel submarines and at least 20 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Caracas, RIA Novosti reported.

Chavez arrived in Moscow Tuesday for "strategic" talks on political, economic and defense cooperation. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with him earlier in the day to discuss arms and energy deals.