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Venezuela, Russia Discuss Copter Purchase, Anti-Terrorism Efforts - 2004-10-06

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, in Moscow for three days of talks with Russian officials, has announced plans to purchase at least 40 combat helicopters from Moscow.

The MI-35 helicopters are to be be used to patrol Venezuela's border with Colombia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has blamed the Colombian government for not doing enough to guard the border against violence spilling over from Colombia's four-decades-old civil war.

Russian news agency Itar-Tass says the first 10 helicopters will be delivered within the next two months.

Mr. Rangel also met with Russian Security Council head Igor Ivanov Tuesday, and the two officials discussed joint efforts in combatting international terrorism.

The Venezuelan vice president also talked to Russian trade officials about possible investment to build a new one-million-metric-ton per year Venezuelan aluminum plant.