Rumsfeld: Arms sale to Venezuela a 'mistake'
7 April 2005, MIAMI- US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Spain's decision to sell military aircraft and patrol boats to Venezuela 'a mistake'.
7 April 2005
MIAMI- US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Spain's decision to sell military aircraft and patrol boats to Venezuela 'a mistake'.
Rumsfeld said he had raised with Russia its plans to sell the South American country AK-47 assault rifles.
"I personally think that Spain is making a mistake," he told The Miami Herald.
Rumsfeld, who returned 25 March from a trip to Latin America, said Washington was concerned about what Venezuela might do with the arms and military equipment it is acquiring from Russia, Spain and Brazil.
"I guess time will tell. The problem is that if one waits until time tells it can be an unhappy story," said Rumsfeld, who returned 25 March from a trip to Latin America.
The Pentagon released a transcript of the interview.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced plans last month to sell Venezuela eight patrol boats and 10 military transport planes.
During a visit to Caracas, he defended the sale against charges they could stimulate an arms race with neighbouring Colombia.
Washington, worried about Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez, has expressed particular concern about the Russian sale of 100,000 AK-47s to Venezuela.
Rumsfeld said he had asked Russian officials about it.
"At the time that I discussed it with them, they indicated that they didn't know how many they would actually sell them and they didn't know whether or not Venezuela would actually buy them. And I just left it there," he said.
Rumsfeld said he had no evidence Venezuela planned to use the weapons to arm Colombian guerrillas or groups in other Latin American countries.
But he said: "If you have a country that ends up buying 100,000 AK-47s you have to ask the question: What are they going to do with them all? One has to worry about the proliferation of these weapons that end up getting brought into the region from elsewhere."
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news