Chavez Visits Moscow for Arms Talks

World | July 22, 2008, Tuesday // 00:00
Chavez Visits Moscow for Arms Talks: Chavez Visits Moscow for Arms Talks Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (left) met Tuesday his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev (right). Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met Tuesday his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, as part of a visit to Moscow that aims at purchasing arms and reinforcing ties with the Kremlin.

"I watch the rebirth of Russia with great respect and great love," Chavez told Medvedev at the beginning of the meeting.

"Russia and Venezuela must become strategic allies in the oil sphere and in military-technical cooperation," Chavez added, as cited by the RIA Novosti news agency.

He also passed to Medvedev kind regards from "Fidel (Castro) and other friends in Latin America."

Russian media said Chavez's shopping list include Russian diesel submarines, mobile missile systems and tanks. Venezuela also seeks loans from Russian banks, partly to fund arms purchases, while some of Russia's biggest companies, including Gazprom and LUKOIL are interested in boosting trade with the OPEC member.

Washington says Chavez's military build-up could destabilise Latin America as tensions between Venezuela and Colombia, a close US ally, remain high.

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