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MEXICO CITY, March 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Nicaragua's vice-president and the nation's army commander have dismissed speculation that military co-peration with Russia meant locating a military base in the Central American state.
They ruled this out in comments following revelations by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that flights of Russian long-range aviation required “refueling bases near the equator or in other places” and that negotiations were “nearing completion”.
Shoigu comments on February 26 named Nicaragua alongside the Seychelles, Singapore and Venezuela. But speaking to journalists in Managua on Wednesday, Vice-President Omar Halleslevens and army commander General Julio Cesar Aviles both said establishing a base would breach the nation's Constitution.
“We maintain relations with Russia on a wide range of issues, based on respect for the Constitution and the law,” Halleslevens said.
In November, Nicaragua's parliament ratified a government decision allowing Russian military formations, ships and aircraft to visit the republic in the first six months of 2014 “as part of an exchange in experience and training” for Nicaraguan military personnel.
Parliament also approved the two countries’ joint surveillance of Nicaraguan territorial waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean between January 1 and June 30, 2015, mainly to fight drug trafficking.