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Defence Minister José Bono to appear before Spain's Congress re weapons sold to Venezuela

From | Europa Press

Madrid 17 April 2005 (Europa Press) | Minister of Defence José Bono, will appear tomorrow (Monday) at noon before the Defence Committee of the Congress of Deputies to report on the sales agreement of last 20 March between the governments of Spain and Venezuela on matters of defence and naval construction.

The accord with Venezuela includes the sale of two ships for transporting asphalt and one oil tanker, in addition to military matériel: ten C-295 transport aircraft and two C-235 naval patrol aircraft built by EADS-CASA, which, according to the Spanish government, will not be sold with any weaponry. Added to the list are four coastal patrol boats and four deep water patrol vessels for patrolling the Economic Exclusion Zone.

The Parliamentary Group of Partido Popular had petitioned to have Bono and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos appear before a joint session for purposes of reporting on "the state of relations between Spain and Venezuela," the visit of the President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to that country, and the contract for the sale of military armaments.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also requested to appear before the respective committee to further explain the issue, but then withdrew the petition and the Government proposed the appearance of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and for Latin America, Bernardino León.

Translation by W.K.

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