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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two Russian Su-30 jets arrive in Venezuela

Two Russian-made Su-30 jets arrived in Venezuela on Sunday and Caracas plans to purchase 24 of the fighter jets from Moscow this year, the military announced.

The two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets would make their first public appearance during a military parade set for Wednesday to mark Venezuela's independence from the Spanish colonial rule, according to the announcement.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said that his country will officially ink the deal for the Russian fighter jets when he visits Moscow on July 25.

"We will soon be in Moscow, because we will buy Russian fighter planes to defend our sky and land," said Chavez on a television show in May.

He described Sukhoi Su-30s as "100 times better than the F-16s that Venezuela bought from the United States."

Chavez has also vowed to sell Venezuela's F-16 fighter planes, if the United States refuses to provide spare parts to his country. Alberto Muller Rojas, the presidential advisor, has indicated that Venezuela is considering selling the planes to Iran if Venezuela does not receive spare parts from Washington.

Chavez unveiled the plan to purchase Russian-made fighter jets and sell the F-16s after the United States announced a ban on military sales to Venezuela.

Sean McCormack, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, has warned that the sale of the F-16s to Iran, or anyone else, "is not permitted."

Source: Xinhua
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