Associated Press & Aftenposten – 2006-02-02 23:23:52
US Venezuela Overspending on Military
George Greada / Associated Press
WASHINGTON, (January 20, 2006) — Venezuela is planning a “buying spree” for military equipment that goes beyond the country’s legitimate needs, the State Department said Friday.
In recent days, the United States has sought to block proposed sales of military planes and other equipment to Venezuela by Spain and Brazil.
The transactions are part of what “we would consider an outsized military buildup in Venezuela,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
He also noted that the government of President Hugo Chavez has decided to activate its reserves and to create a million-person militia.
On Thursday in Brasilia, Chavez called the US objections to the Brazil deal absurd and said Brazil will try to persuade the United States to allow it. At stake are 20 planes costing $200 million. The deal was worked out with Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA, or Embraer.
The United States has the authority to block the sale because some of the planes’ technology is American-made. Embraer President Mauricio Botelho said Friday the company is working on changes that could make the sale acceptable to Washington.
Botelho said the plane would be used to combat drugs and arms trafficking and not “for acts of war.”
Last week, Chavez blasted a US attempt to block Spain from selling Venezuela 12 military planes with American parts, calling it proof of Washington’s “imperialism.”
In response, McCormack said at the time the United States is concerned that the proposed sale “could contribute to destabilization in Latin America.”
The United States has made that view clear to the Spanish, Venezuelan and other governments in Latin America,” McCormack said.
The proposed Spanish transaction involves armed maritime patrol seacraft and some airplanes.
Norway Big in Arms Export
SWEDEN — The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) figures reveal Norway as a leading arms exporter, with its industry enjoying strong growth.
“The Socialist Left Party’s disarmament profile has been pulverized by the Norwegian arms industry and LO (The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions). An increasing share of Norwegian weapon production is being used in war situations, the export to the USA is colossal,” reports financial magazine Økonomisk Rapport.
In five years turnover has increased by 30 percent and the industry sells for NOK 7 billion (USD 1.05 billion) a year and employs around 5,000 people.
According to figures from SIPRI, Norway is the world’s biggest arms exporter in relation to its population and the 11th in the world in real terms.
“We have a good relationship with LO, and the Labor Party understands the industry well,” said Knut Hundhammer, managing director of the Norwegian Defense and Security Industries Association (FSi).
This is an article from www.aftenposten.no.
Updated: 18. januar 2006 kl.13:41
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