BUENOS-AIRES, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Venezuelan government is ready to provide South American states with full information on its arms deal with Russia, Vice President Ramîn Carrizàlez has said.
Defense officials from states that comprise the UNASUR group of South American nations met on Tuesday in Ecuador's capital Quito for discussions on how to avoid a possible arms race in the region.
"Nothing prevents us from showing the treaty with Russia, from providing UNASUR with all information in details, because trust begins with transparency," Carrizàlez said.
Venezuela plans to increase its defense capability over a possible increase in U.S. military personnel in neighboring Colombia and alleged U.S. plans to invade Venezuela and seize its oil fields.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans on Sunday to create a multi-layered air defense network that will comprise Russian-made S-300, Buk-M2 and Pechora air defense systems to ensure the protection of Venezuelan air space and key infrastructure from various ranges, with the help of a Russian $2.2 bln loan secured last week.
The deal with Russia, struck during a visit to Moscow by Chavez last week, also includes the purchase of 92 T-72 main battle tanks and an undisclosed number of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
Between 2005 and 2007, Moscow and Caracas signed 12 contracts worth more than $4.4 billion to supply arms to Venezuela, including fighter jets, helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.