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Archive for Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Anti-aircraft missiles to boost air defense

January 31, 2007

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— Venezuela plans to obtain air defense missiles to guard strategic sites such as oil refineries and major bridges against any air strike, a top military adviser to President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday.

Gen. Alberto Muller said Venezuela was looking to buy surface-to-air missile systems from Russia or another country to defend "strategic points in the country."

"They are for air defense," Muller told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "They are not for attacking anybody."

Chavez, a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, has repeatedly warned against a possible U.S. invasion, and his government is bolstering military defenses in Venezuela, one of the world's largest oil exporters. American officials insist they have no such military plans, but Chavez insists Venezuelans must be ready just in case.

Russia's Interfax-Military News Agency reported Tuesday that between 10 and 12 Tor-M1 missile systems could be supplied to the South American country.

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