Venezuela to purchase arms from Spain

Venezuela will purchase 10 airplanes and eight patrol boats from Spain despite the United States' attempts to block the deal, a top navy official said Monday.

Angel Lopez Rojas, the navy's logistics commander, said in a statement that the Spanish companies EADS-Casa, a branch of a European aerospace consortium, and the shipyard Navantia have fulfilled all the requirements for the construction of the planes and boats, according to the state news agency.

The deal was paralyzed earlier this year after the United States denied EADS-Casa permission to sell Venezuela 10 transport planes that contain American parts.

Washington had feared the sale could affect the military balance in the region.

Defense Minister Orlando Maniglia said recently EADS-Casa was working to subsitute the U.S. parts for others that would be supplied by a European country, but did provide further details.

Lopez Rojas said the first patrol boat will arrive in Venezuela in 2008 and that the remaining boats will be sent to the country every six months after the shipment.

Earlier reports had Spain selling Venezuela 12 military planes and eight patrol boats for US$2 billion ( Ђ 1.7 billion), reports the AP.


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