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Sudan Tribune

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Russia ready to step up military relations with South Sudan

Russia ready to step up military relations with South Sudan

October 15, 2011 (JUBA) – Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport has expressed readiness to sale Russian-made weapons to the newly independent state which seeks to build its defense capabilities.

On Thursday a delegation from Russian Federal State Unitary Enterprise (Rosoboronexport) met with the South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, in Juba and discussed a wide range of bilateral military cooperation between Juba and Moscow.

In a televised statement over the official South Sudan TV, the Deputy Director General of the Russian Federal State Military Enterprise, Alexander Micheev, said his country was ready to support ten projects in South Sudan including defense capacity, besides constitutional process and building of infrastructure.

Rosoboronexport is the sole state Russian company authorized to export weapons, technologies and services. Structured as one of the organs of t Russia’s defense ministry, the status of Rosoboronexport secures the guaranteed state support in all operations.

Russia maintains military-technical cooperation with over 100 countries worldwide.

The Russia offer to support the defense system in South Sudan came just three days after a delegation from the department of defense in the United States of America came to Juba and initiated dialogue on defense with South Sudan.

On Monday the United States delegation and the ministry of defense and SPLA met to agree on the issue.

The deputy minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs in South Sudan, Majak Agot, said the meeting discussed the need for the US defense department to raise the capacity of SPLA as a professional army.

In September 2010 the Sudanese army spokesperson al-Sawarmi Khaled disclosed that Juba had acquired ten 10 Russian helicopters, nine Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters and one Mi-172 variant.

Several months later, SPLA spokesperson, Philip Aguer confirmed the deal saying the ten transport helicopters serves to enhance the mobility of troops but also can be used as gunships to secure the border.

Despite the American efforts to restructure the Sudan People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) and transform it to conventional army, most of the arms used by the former guerrilla group are Russian as AK-47 and Dragunov SVD.

There is also the famous purchase of Russian tanks hijacked by Somali pirates in September 2008. Aboard the Ukrainian MV Faina, the pirates found 33 Russian-made T-72 tanks, 42 anti-aircraft guns and more than 800 tonnes of ammunition.

(ST)