No restrictions on arms exports to Venezuela - defense minister
(RIA Novosti) - Russia's defense minister said Friday that Russian military hardware supplies to Venezuela did not violate international law.
"There are no legal restrictions on arms exports to Venezuela. I mean of course conventional weapons," Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said after talks in Russia's second city with his German counterpart. "Venezuela is not on any sanctions or restricted regime list and has the right to buy any unrestricted weaponry in any country."
Venezuela has recently raised the possibility of purchasing weapons from Russia after relations worsened between South America's largest oil producer and the United States, which slapped a ban on arms sales to Venezuela at the beginning of last week, saying that the South American country has an intelligence-sharing relationship with Iran and Cuba, both of which it considers state sponsors of terrorism, reports Trend.
A Venezuelan television channel previously quoted the country's Ambassador to Moscow, Alexis Navarro Rojas, as saying that the Venezuelan government was preparing for negotiations with Moscow on acquiring Su-35 Flanker multi-role fighters to replace its current contingent of 21 American F-16s.
Venezuela bought dozens of civilian and military helicopters from Russia at the start of 2006, as well as 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, in a move that drew sharp criticism from Washington.
But Ivanov reiterated that Russia was ready to sell weapons to any country that had not violated international regulations and intended to strictly observe the conditions of each arms deal.
"Russia always meets it obligations under contracts, and not only in the military sphere," Ivanov said, adding that Russia will also honor its commitments to supply Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran.