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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Russia To Boost Military Cooperation With Africa

Moscow (Ria Novosti): Russia intends to boost its military technical cooperation with African countries, including by establishing maintenance centers for Russian-made armaments and equipment, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said Monday.

The enterprise, which is Russia's sole state intermediary in the sphere of military production exports and imports, said it was seeking as a priority to expand the geography, range and volumes of Russian armament and equipment supplies to regional markets, including Africa.

"In the last few years, positive changes have become evident in Russia's military and technical cooperation with African states," a Rosoboronexport spokesman said.

The Soviet Union supplied arms to many African countries in the ideological standoff with the West, and Russia has been seeking to reestablish contacts under President Vladimir Putin. Rosoboronexport announced it had signed deals worth $7.5 billion with Algeria in March.

"The enterprise's cooperation with traditional importers of Russian weapons - Algeria, Libya, Angola, Ethiopia and Uganda has been boosted," the spokesman said, adding that relations with Morocco, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Burkina Faso were also developing well.

He also said Rosoboronexport was proposing competitive projects on supplies of new armaments and maintenance of old ones.

"The enterprise is ready to use alternative and flexible schemes of settlements," the spokesman said. "For example, payment through counter deliveries of traditional African export goods - diamonds, lumber, cotton, palm oil and coffee, as well as the reception and implementation of quotas to develop mineral resources and seafood, establishment of joint enterprises in the fishing industry, mining and oil industries, and clearing minefields."

Africa Aerospace & Defence 2006, the largest aerospace, defense, and security exhibition on the continent, will be held at Ysterplaat air force base near Cape Town on September 20-24.

Rosoboronexport earlier said Russia would present more than 250 new and modernized weapons at the international arms show in South Africa.
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