From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Jan 26 2010 - 08:39:31 EST
Libya pursues $2bn arms deal'
Moscow - Libya is seeking to buy more than $2bn worth of Russian arms
including 20 fighter planes, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday,
citing a military-diplomatic source.
The report came as Libya's defense minister was due to visit Russia in the
latest sign of renewed co-operation between Moscow and the North African
state, which enjoyed close ties during the Cold War.
"Libya is ready to buy around 20 fighter planes, at least two divisions of
S-300PMU2 air defense systems and several dozen T-90S tanks from Russia, and
also to modernise more than T-70 tanks and other weapons," the source said.
The source told Interfax that more than $1bn of the deal was for combat
aircraft such as SU-35s, SU-30s and Yak-130s. The news agency put the total
size of the deal at $2bn.
Earlier a senior Russian official confirmed that Moscow was counting on
signing arms deals with Libya during Tuesday's visit by the country's
defense minister, General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jaber.
"We expect his visit will not just be of a political nature, but will also
allow the signing of contracts on the delivery of arms and military
hardware," Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of the Federal Service for
Military-Technical Cooperation, told the RIA-Novosti state news agency last
Dzirkaln, whose service oversees arms exports, said Libya was interested in
Russian fighter jets and air defense systems but did not elaborate.
Neither the service nor Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport
could be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Libya, a longtime pariah state that has moved to rejoin the international
community in recent years, has reportedly been in talks with Moscow about
revamping its military.
Much of the North African state's arsenal was purchased from the Soviet
Union in the last years of the Cold War.
Moscow and Tripoli have stepped up their contacts in recent years. In 2008
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi visited the Russian capital in his first visit
to Moscow since the 1980s.
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