Jet Vetoed by US Is Not Attack Plane, Says Brazil’s Embraer

The president of the Brazilian Aeronautics Company (Embraer), MaurÀ­cio Botelho, affirmed on Friday, January 20, that neither Brazil nor his company will be the one to resolve the impasse created by the US veto on the sale of Embraer military aircraft to Venezuela.

According to Botelho, the matter will be settled by the governments of the US and Venezuela. "The US position is not one of opposition to Brazil or Embraer," he said.

In a press conference in São Paulo, Brazil, Botelho declared his faith in a solution to the impasse, chiefly because the aircraft involved are not for belligerent use.

"The plane we are talking about is not an attack plane. Its purpose is law enforcement in missions directed against drug and arms trafficking. Since the war on these crimes concerns not only Venezuela, this encourages us to believe that a solution will be found permitting the deal to go through."

The sale of 24 Embraer Tucano aircraft was vetoed by the US government, which argued that the deal could destabilize Latin America, a reference to a supposed arms strategy on the part of Venezuela.

Since the Brazilian planes contain electronic components that use US technology, their sale must be authorized by the US Commerce or State Department.

The president of Embraer ruled out the possibility of acquiring these components from other countries. "This would involve bigger questions and a new project for the system, which would demand major investments and a long time delay and might not even be worth it for this kind of order."

The sale of the 24 Brazilian aircraft to Venezuela represents a transaction worth less than US$ 200 million, according to Botelho.

On Thursday, January 19, at a meeting in Brasí­lia, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assured the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, that the Brazilian government is negotiating with the United States to allow the sale to proceed.

The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, remarked that Brazil does not concur with the US position and that he had already conversed with the US secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and was awaiting a response.

Agência Brasil

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