Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Russia, Greece clinch new arms deal

Russia and Greece signed an agreement on Tuesday to boost weapons trade and cooperation between their arms industries. The agreement "addresses armaments systems that have been supplied already, their servicing, and new armaments," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

"We have signed an agreement that opens up a new framework, new borders for our further work in the sphere of military technological cooperation," Sergei Shoigu said after talks in Athens with his Greek counterpart, Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The agreement "addresses armaments systems that have been supplied already, their servicing, and new armaments," Shoigu said. He and the delegation he had brought with him had had "quite productive" talks with Greek officials, he said.
"We summed up our cooperation in 2013 and looked at a plan for 2014. Our experts have now gone into the details of that plan, in other words into all aspects of our interaction, including cooperation between our navies," the Russian minister said. The plan is due to be approved very soon, according to Shoigu.
Next year will see the 20th anniversary of a Russian-Greek military cooperation agreement, he said. "We have something to be proud of, and we have objectives to pursue."
Shoigu said he and Avramopoulos had also shared ideas on international security. "This especially has to do with what's happening in the Middle East and North Africa. Our points of view coincide in practically all respects," Shoigu said.
In reference to Avramopoulos, he said he was glad to have "acquired a wonderful friend." Avramopoulos is a man "who is doubtlessly experienced and enjoys serious political weight both in Greece and in the European Union," the Russian minister said.
"We hope to resume our contacts at ministerial level in Moscow next year. That's a proposal I've made," Shoigu said.
Avramopoulos said he had accepted the proposal, and that, at Shoigu's suggestion, he would visit Siberia, his Russian counterpart's birthplace.
Greece is NATO's only member country to pursue fruitful military technological cooperation with Russia.
Since 1998, Russia has supplied Greece with dozens of Tor-M1 and Osa-AKM surface-to-air missile systems, Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems, Krasnopol-M1 cannon-launched, fin-stabilized semi-automatic laser-guided explosive projectile systems, and three Zubr marine-landing hovercraft. There is a Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile system deployed in Crete, having been brought over from Cyprus.
Greece planned to buy 420 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles of the BMP-3 type from Russia, but the project has been suspended because of the Greek financial crisis.

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