A Venezuelan diplomat said his country is awaiting talks with Russia on buying new Russian jet fighters, a Russian news agency reported Friday, days after the United States imposed an arms embargo on the oil-rich South American country. Interfax also cited Ambassador Alexis Navarro Rojas as saying that President Hugo Chavez was seeking to visit Russia sometime in the coming months.
"We are awaiting a reply from the Russian side. President Chavez likes visiting Russia ," Rojas was quoted as saying by Interfax. Venezuelan pilots had already tested out Su-27 and Su-30 fighters, Rojas said. "They have simply fallen in love with the aircraft. They have also tried piloting the Su-35. Now we are waiting for talks to begin," he was quoted as saying.
If completed, the deal would be the latest in a series of sizable Russian arms purchases by Venezuela : Caracas is buying 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles from Russia over Washington 's objections and last month, a top Venezuelan army commander said the military plans to buy nearly three dozen military helicopters to be used in defense and anti-drug patrols.
Washington on Monday banned arms sales from the United States to Venezuela an action that signaled a further deterioration in relations with Venezuela . The United States sold Venezuela less than US$34 million ( Ђ 26.6 million) worth of military equipment last year, a relatively tiny amount, mostly for spare parts for cargo planes, reports the AP.
The troops of the Southern and Western military districts will begin to return from Russia's southern borders to the points of their permanent deployment starting April 23