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Argentina is seeking to buy Russian helicopters and send an astronaut
Argentina is seeking to buy Russian helicopters and send an astronaut into space, the Russian Security Council secretary said during his visit to the Latin American country.

Nikolai Patrushev met Tuesday with the Argentine prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and intelligence chief in Buenos Aires.

A spokesman for Argentina's Defense Ministry said the parties had primarily discussed possible deliveries of heavy Russian helicopters and cooperation in the training of military personnel.

Jorge Bernetti said prospects to prepare Argentine pilots for missions into space had been discussed at the meeting.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said Wednesday that Argentine astronauts could be trained at its Moscow Region training center, adding that the consent of the ISS parties was needed to go to the International Space Station, and flights were set until 2012.

The Russian and Argentine sides agreed to hold a meeting of both countries' experts to prepare the first meeting of a joint commission on military and technical cooperation.

The commission is to meet on November 17-18, implementing a memorandum of understanding signed by Argentine Defense Minister Nilda Garre in Moscow in October 2006.

The spokesman said work has been boosted in this direction in view of a visit to Russia by Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner scheduled for late 2008.

Bernetti added that Russia was interested in participating in the Defense Council of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Latin American Association of Peacekeeping Centers (ALCOPAZ) as an observer.

"The talks demonstrated the lack of any contradictions in bilateral relations as well as a common multi-polar vision of the world," Patrushev said.

He rated highly the prospects for partnership in several spheres including the civilian nuclear industry, electricity generation, space, nanotechnology and energy resources.

The Russian Security Council secretary said his Argentine colleagues accepted information from Moscow on Russia's operation in the Caucasus in August to force peace on Georgia "with understanding."

After Argentina, the Russian official will visit Ecuador and Venezuela.


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