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Putin, Chavez to discuss $2 bln arms loan, trade, energy cooperation

© RIA Novosti . Alexei Nikolsky / Go to the photo bankRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will discuss military and economic cooperation, including a $2.2 billion loan to buy Russian arms, during his first visit to the South American country, a Russian government source said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will discuss military and economic cooperation, including a $2.2 billion loan to buy Russian arms, during his first visit to the South American country, a Russian government source said on Wednesday.

Putin will visit Caracas on Friday.

During his visit to Moscow in September, Chavez said Venezuela would buy 92 T-72 tanks and an unspecified number of Smerch multiple rocket launchers from Russia, among other military inventory.

Since 2005, Venezuela has bought $4 billion worth of Russian weaponry, including warplanes, helicopters, and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

During his visit to Caracas, Putin will oversee the delivery of the last four Russian Mi-17 Hip helicopters out of the total of 38 under a 2006 contract.

"Thirty-four helicopters have already been delivered," the Russian government source said.

He said that in economic cooperation, "priority will be given to the fuel, energy, and mining sectors."

Other promising cooperation areas include the oil, gas, and transport infrastructures, agriculture, and the financial sphere.

Relations between Russia and Venezuela have strengthened considerably over the past 10 years. The two countries have signed large-scale economic and energy cooperation agreements. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Venezuela in November 2008.

Later on Friday, Putin will also meet with Bolivian President Evo Morales in Caracas.

 

MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti)

 

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