[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 19:59 GMT
Spain defies US on Venezuela deal
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and Spain's Defence Minister Jose Bono
The signing ceremony was attended by Spain's defence minister (l)
Spain has said it will go ahead with the sale of 12 military planes to Venezuela despite US objections.

However, the aircraft will be made with more expensive European parts because the US has blocked the use of its technology for Venezuela.

The US says Venezuela's Socialist President Hugo Chavez could use the planes to destabilise the region.

Both Madrid and Caracas have said the equipment - also including eight patrol boats - is for defensive purposes.

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Spain "did not share" the US reasons for blocking the deal.

She said the deal would create 1,000 Spanish jobs over the next few years.

Drug-trafficking

Mr Chavez has condemned the US position as "horrific imperialism," Reuters news agency reports.

The US accuses Mr Chavez of harassing the opposition and spreading instability across South America.

Madrid said the US decision was based on commercial interests and insisted it would not damage relations between the two countries.

Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono travelled to Caracas last November to attend the signing of the deal with Mr Chavez.

Mr Chavez had said the patrol boats and military transport planes supplied by EADS-Casa will be used to combat drug-trafficking on the Colombian border.

Earlier this week, Venezuela accused Washington of blocking the purchase of training jets from Brazil, because the planes contained protected US technology.




SEE ALSO:
Spain-Venezuela arms deal nears
26 Nov 05 |  Americas
Spain agrees Venezuela arms deal
31 Mar 05 |  Americas
US concern over Venezuela rifles
23 Mar 05 |  Americas
Russia defends Chavez arms deal
11 Feb 05 |  Europe
Profile: Hugo Chavez
16 Mar 04 |  Americas
Timeline: Venezuela
16 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific