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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 02:05 GMT
Chavez angry with US over jet row
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Mr Chavez has threatened to sell the country's F-16s
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of blocking a purchase of training jets from Brazil.

Mr Chavez said Washington stopped the deal with the Brazilian aviation company, Embraer, because the planes contained protected US technology.

The president also repeated accusations that Washington was blocking the supply of spare parts for Venezuela's aging F-16 fighter fleet.

He threatened to buy fighter jets from Russia or China.

'New MiGs'

"The United States did not authorize Embraer to make the planes for Venezuela because Embraer uses US technology, just like they tried to stop the Spanish making boats for us," Mr Chavez told military officers.

"We've sent a commission to Moscow and if we have to replace the F-16 fleet with a fleet of new MiGs, then we will," he said.

Venezuela says it has the right to modernise its armed forces for peaceful purposes, but the US is concerned that the purchases could destabilise South America.

In November, Mr Chavez threatened to sell Venezuela's F-16s - a type that is a mainstay of US and allied air forces - to China or America's Caribbean nemesis Cuba.

جبأ-29
Russian-built MiGs could be on Mr Chavez's shopping list

"Maybe we will just send them back to them, or perhaps we will send 10 planes to Cuba, or to China, so they can have a look at the technology of these aircraft," he said at the time.

Mr Chavez later said he had only been "thinking out loud".

If he carries out the threat, it would break Venezuela's obligation to protect F-16 technology.

Venezuela had been sold 20 of the multi-role fighters in the 1980s, when its administration was deemed to be friendly to Washington.

It could replace the F-16s with Russian-made MiG-29s, which are already in service with Peru and Cuba.




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