Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Strategic Alliance" - II

Just in case there was any doubt: the "strategic alliance" is a Chávez-Belarus pact against the United States.

RFE/RL has more details here.

Just in case there was any doubt: the "strategic alliance" is a Chávez-Belarus pact against the United States.

RFE/RL has more details here.

Update: from the Newsline, July 26:

VENEZUELAN LEADER SEEKS ARMS, ENERGY DEALS IN RUSSIA

President Hugo Chavez arrived in Volgograd from Belarus on July 25 at the start of a three-day visit that is expected to yield a $1 billion deal for at least 24 Sukhoi-30 fighter jets and a good deal of anti-American rhetoric, the Moscow daily "Kommersant" reported on July 26 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 20 and 22, 2006, and "Russia :Chavez To Seal Arms Deal," rferl.org, July 25, 2006). Chavez elivered an impromptu speech from the balcony of city hall, which began with "Long live Lenin" and went on to hail "Volgograd, [President] Putin, and the Russian government." Chavez's schedule on the first day of his visit included meetings with LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov and Dmitry Pumpyansky, who is chairman of the board of TMK, which makes steel pipes for oil and gas transport. Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Alexis Navarro Rojas told the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina on June 15 in connection with Chavez's trip that Venezuela is dependent on foreign companies for 87 percent of its exports of hydrocarbons. He added that "our country wants to solve this problem." Navarro told reporters in Moscow on June 21 that his country would welcome Gazprom's participation in constructing a planned 8,000-kilometer gas pipeline to Argentina. Carlos Mendoza, who was Navarro's predecessor and is now an adviser to Venezuela's Central Bank, told the "San Francisco Chronicle" of July 23 that unnamed Russian companies are investing "heavily" in Venezuela's oil and gas fields. He added that "Russia is a key element of Venezuela's ambitions to become a global player on many levels." PM

U.S. WARNS RUSSIA OVER VENEZUELAN ARMS DEALS.

Venezuelan President Chavez cancelled planned visits to several Volgograd-area arms actories on July 25 "because he was running late," the daily "Kommersant" reported on July 26. On July 26, he toured arms factories in Izhevsk, the capital of Udmurtia, which is a major weapons-producing center and home of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Interfax reported. Russia's Rosoboroneksport arms exporter already plans to supply Chavez with 100,000 AK-103 Kalashnikovs, which Washington and some Latin American countries fear will be used to consolidate his rule at home and export trouble to Colombia and throughout the region. Chavez said in Izhevsk on July 26 that he will sign an agreement with President Putin on July 27 to build a factory in Venezuela to make Kalashnikovs under license, which would be the first such plant in the Western Hemisphere. On July 25 in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that "we've repeatedly talked to the Russian government that the arms purchases planned by Venezuela exceeded its defensive needs and are not helpful in terms of regional stability," international news agencies reported. "I think on this issue, we've got a very clear opinion and we certainly hope that the Russians will reconsider this sale because we don't think it's in the best interest of Russia or Venezuela," he added (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 19, 2006). PM
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