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Venezuela, Spain Sign Billion-Dollar Military Deal


Venezuela is buying naval ships and transport aircraft worth more than $1.5 billion from Spain.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed the deal with Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono in Caracas Monday.

Under the deal, Venezuela will receive ocean patrol boats, coastal patrol vessels, and maritime surveillance planes. Reuters news agency quotes a Venezuelan naval commander, Armando Laguna, as saying the equipment will delivered by 2010.

Last week, the U.S. government threatened to block the transfer of U.S. parts and technology in the planes and boats included in the deal. Venezuela says it could get technology from other countries if need be.

Venezuela has also signed deals this year for a Brazilian aircraft and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles from Russia to combat the drug trade along the border with Colombia.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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