CARACAS, April 2 (RIA Novosti)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Venezuela on Friday for his first visit to the South American country.Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez personally greeted Putin at the airport in Caracas, although their meeting was scheduled later in the day.
Venezuela is currently in talks with Russia on the purchase of 50 aircraft, a source in the Russian delegation in Caracas said on Friday.
"They are negotiating the delivery of An-148 and Be-200 airplanes," the source said, referring to passenger/cargo and a multipurpose amphibious aircraft, respectively.
Venezuelan civil defense service chief Luis Diaz said his country needed Be-200 amphibious aircraft to fight devastating forest fires.
On Thursday, a Be-200 made a demonstration flight in Venezuela, extinguishing a forest fire. It had flown to Venezuela from Chile, where it had taken part in the International Air and Space Fair - FIDAE 2010 on March 23-28.
Severe drought hit the Latin American state this year, resulting in a large number of huge forest fires. Last month, blazes destroyed more than 200 hectares of forest in the Waraira Repano National Park near the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.