Wednesday, May 31, 2006

When Did The Monroe Doctrine Expire?

BBC NEWS - Russia is holding talks with Venezuela to license the manufacture of Kalashnikov rifles there, Russia's state arms exporter has confirmed.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Russia planned to build two munitions plants in the country.

Moscow has already signed a deal to supply Venezuela with 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.

The move is likely to worry the US, which regards Mr Chavez as a destabilising influence in the region.

In May, the US State Department banned arms sales to Venezuela because of concern over its contacts with Iran and Cuba and what it called Venezuela's lack of support for counter-terrorism efforts.

Mr Chavez made his announcement during a visit to Ecuador to sign a series of energy deals.

"The Russians are going to install a Kalashnikov rifle plant and a munitions factory," he said. "So we can defend every street, every hill, every corner."

Arms exporter Rosoboronexport confirmed that talks were taking place, but did not give any details of the timescale or proposed production capacity of the plant, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Mr Chavez also told reporters that 30,000 of the promised Kalashnikov assault rifles were due to arrive in June, a fact later confirmed by the Russian manufacturer.