TEHRAN, YJC. Russia will continue military-technical cooperation with Venezuela regardless of who takes over power in the country after the death of Hugo Chavez, a Russian arms trade source said on Wednesday.
"Whoever comes to power in Venezuela, our military-technical cooperation will continue because it is aimed primarily at safeguarding the national security of the country,” the source said.
The official added that some defense contracts with Caracas include the construction of arms factories and servicing centers for military equipment, which helps the development of Venezuela’s economy in general.
Chavez had ambitious military plans, which he began implementing some time ago.
Between 2005 and 2007 Venezuela reached deals to buy $4-billion worth of arms from Russia, including Sukhoi fighter jets, combat helicopters, and over 100,000 light weapons, primarily the famous AK-103 assault rifles and a license to produce them in Venezuela.
Chavez's government also secured a $2.2-billion loan in 2010 to purchase a large batch of Russian weapons for its army, including 92 T-72M1M main battle tanks, about 240 BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, and a variety of artillery systems.
The source said that Russian and Venezuelan officials met in Caracas earlier this year and reaffirmed their mutual desire to expand cooperation in a variety of areas, including military-technical, oil exploration and transportation.
According to Russian experts, Venezuela is expected to become the world’s second largest buyer of Russian weaponry after India by 2015.
in this regards Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has argued that "the unipolar world is collapsing and finishing in all aspects, and the alliance with Russia is part of that effort to build a multipolar world.”
Under Chavez, Venezuela also strengthened relations with Russia. Since 2005, Venezuela has purchased $4 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, and the two countries have held joint naval exercises in the Caribbean Sea.
In 2010, Chavez announced that Russia would build Venezuela’s first nuclear power station, and that the nation had agreed to a further $1.6 billion in oil contracts with Moscow.
Voice of Russia