Chavez to help Lukashenka with oil 14:58, 26/06/2007
As author of the Internet-resource “Izbrannoye” (“Selected”), observer of “Nezavisimoye voennoye obozrenie” (“Independent military review”) Igor Blagodarev deems, the talks between Chavez and Lukashenka are to touch upon weapon purchases, but supplies of the Venezuelan oil will be the key issue.
It is highly possible that the military cooperation issues will be discussed at the talks, but the issues of weapon purchases and Belarusian military equipment will not probably become the key point, as the Belarusians cannot offer anything worthwhile to Venezuela. The oil supplies issue is likely to be the principal one.
Lukashenka needs to load his oil-recycling capacities and to get economic instruments in the trade with Russia on prices for Russian energy vectors.
The presumption that Belarus will act as a middleman in the sales of Russian weapons doesn’t stand to criticism. This is impossible since the Russian military agency Rosoboronexport has established tense and versatile collaboration with Venezuela lately. Thus, contracts have been signed on constructing cartridge and machine-gun plants in Venezuela.
Although according to the recent information of the year-book Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Belarus’ military expenditures rose by more than 30% in 2006 (from $ 385 mln in 2005 to $ 574 mln in 2006), it’s not likely that Lukashenka invests in the military industry for exporting its production.