NEW YORK - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "totally wrong" in criticizing his government's arms purchases from Russia.
Clinton expressed concern over an arms race in the region earlier this month after Venezuela announced that Russia would lend it two billion dollars to buy tanks and anti-aircraft systems.
"She is totally lost," Chavez said Thursday when asked about it in an interview with CNN. "You should be concerned. She has lost her way. She is totally wrong."
Chavez insisted that Venezuela, which has signed billions of dollars in arms contracts with Russia in recent years, has one of the smallest defence budgets in the region.
The Venezuelan firebrand has said that the latest arms deal for 92 T-72 tanks and unspecified air defense systems was in response to US plans to use seven bases in neighbouring Colombia.
In the interview, Chavez, who delivered a speech Thursday at the UN General Assembly, assured that his government would not cut off oil supplies to the United States.
"I would never do it now, it's business, and we will continue sending oil," he said. "We want to have the best relations to satisfy the needs of the world."
He said he wanted a "good relationship" with the administration of President Barack Obama, similar to the relationship Venezuela had with the United States when Bill Clinton was in the White House.