Venezuela’s President to Visit Russian Military Plants

Venezuela’s president arrived in Volgograd in southern Russia Tuesday from the capital of Belarus, Minsk, where he had held talks with the Belarusian president, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

Hugo Chavez, who was elected president in 1998, will meet with the governor of the Volgograd Region and local businessmen and will pay a visit to the Volgograd Tractor Plant, which also produces tanks and other military vehicles.

The South American leader will later leave Volgograd for the capital of the Volga Region republic of Udmurtia, Izhevsk, where he will meet with the gun-maker Mikhail Kalashnikov and visit a defense-industry plant Kupol, which produces and modernizes surface-to-air missile systems.

“It would be good if the President could see in Udmurtia the high standards of performance of military enterprises, and make sure once again that he has made the right choice of partners and was correct to choose the products of our company, Izhmash in this case,” Udmurtian President Alexander Volkov told Interfax news agency.

Oil-rich Venezuela is a major purchaser of Russian weapons and hardware. In late 2004, the two countries signed a $54 million contract for the supply of 100,000 automatic rifles.

In June this year, Chavez said he planned to build a plant to make Kalashnikov rifles and cartridges in the country.

[Source: MosNews, Mowcow, 25July06]

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