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|05MOSCOW11807||2005-09-14 15:13||2011-08-30 01:44||SECRET||Embassy Moscow|
O 141513Z SEP 05
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3189
INFO AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY
S E C R E T MOSCOW 011807
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/14/2015
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL MASS VE RS
SUBJECT: MORE RUSSIAN RESISTANCE TO DEMARCHE ON MILITARY
SALES TO VENEZUELA
REF: (A) STATE 165022 (B) MOSCOW 11500
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Kirk Augustine,
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (S) Following up our earlier demarche (refs), Political
Minister Counselor reiterated U.S. concerns regarding arms
sales to Venezuela in a September 13 meeting with Anatoliy
Antonov, MFA Director for Disarmament and Security Affairs.
Focusing on MANPADS, Antonov replied that the Venezuelan
government had not to date requested them. Antonov said that
he and his Department's experts had carefully considered the
points we had presented and had shared them with Russian
services. Antonov noted the MFA would take the U.S. points
into account, along with the evaluations of Russian services,
when a determination on MANPADS sales to Venezuela was
¶2. (S) Nonetheless, Antonov stressed that there was no
international restriction on selling arms, including MANPADS,
to Venezuela. Russia also recognized the U.S. as a
competitor in the international arms trade, with the
motivation of restricting Russia's market access. Russia
respected the U.S. right to determine U.S. policy on arms
sales to Venezuela, but "that is your decision, not ours; we
have our own policy." Antonov said that if U/S Joseph raises
this issue with Deputy FM Kislyak, Kislyak "will say the
same." PolMinCouns noted that the issue of military sales to
Venezuela remained of great concern to the U.S., and this
would be a continuing subject of bilateral discussion.
¶3. (S) Regarding sales of AK-103 rifles, Antonov confirmed
that the sale was indeed moving forward. He maintained that
Venezuela was a legitimate market for Russian arms, and that
Russia intends to remain active in this market. He also
commented that the tone in parts of ref A points was
demeaning to Russia. The U.S. should not "speak to us like
we are Gabon or Mali," he remarked. Antonov said that Russia
does not and will not give out specific information, such as
serial numbers of AK-103 rifles, to others.
¶4. (S) Comment: There was an explicit rejection of the U.S.
position with regard to the AK-103 rifles, but a less
categorical response on the possibility of a MANPADS sale.
While Antonov's general response on arms sales gave little
grounds for optimism in the event that Venezuela does request
to purchase Russian MANPADS, there may have been enough of a
difference in the tone of his remarks on MANPADS to
constitute a possible opening that can be further explored.