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Libya nears arms deal with Russia

Libya nears arms deal with Russia

Libya and Russia are believed to be close to signing an arms agreement for the sale of Russian fighter aircraft and air-defence systems to Tripoli under a USD2.2 billion deal.

The move would appear to dash French hopes of selling advanced military equipment to Libya.

Official sources in Moscow and Tripoli said a Libyan delegation led by Abdul Rahman Assayed, an official in charge of Libya's military procurement programme, visited the Russian capital in early May to discuss the acquisition of 12 Su-30MK2 and 12 MiG-29SMT fighters as well as long and short-range air-defence systems and one or two Kilo-class (Type 636) diesel-electric submarines.

The Libyans conferred with Sergei Chemezov, General Director of Russia's state defence exports organisation Rosoboronexport, and Sergei Prikhodko, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sources close to the negotiations said the deal could be finalised during a visit by Putin to Tripoli and Sirte in Libya scheduled for September.

If confirmed, the accord would thwart efforts by Paris to interest the Libyans in acquiring France's Rafale multirole fighter aircraft and the Tiger combat helicopter built by Eurocopter.

Source : Jane's Information Group--- (Posted : By JAC Lewis, Date : 17 May 2007)
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