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Home >> World
UPDATED: 14:03, March 01, 2006
Venezuela denies US accusation of building up military for regional offenses
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Venezuela's Vice President Jose Vincente Rangel on Tuesday rejected the U.S. accusation that his country is building up military for offenses in Latin America.

"Venezuela is not an aggressive country, it's respectful of international order and it's a peaceful and democratic country," Rangel told the local Union Radio.

He said the U.S. accusation is "part of the arsenal of lies that the White House and the Pentagon handle."

Rangel's comments came after U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Venezuela's recent arms purchases would "allow it to operate in any part of South America and Latin America and inside the Gulf (of Mexico)."

Negroponte also said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is trying to strengthen relations with Cuba and "seek closer economic, military and diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea)."

Venezuela has recently signed an arms deal with Spain and expanded its weapon contract with Russia, an action which Chavez described as necessary to defend his country against possible U.S. invasions. Washington denied Chavez's accusation, saying the United States had no plan to attack Venezuela.

Caracas and Washington have been at odds since Chavez came into power in 1998.

Source: Xinhua

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