Russia Seeks Bigger Share of Middle-East Arms Market
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Source: 5th International Defence Exhibition & Conference. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 18-22, 2001.
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. -- March 19, 2001 -- Russia is trying to expand its share of the lucrative Middle East arms market, which is dominated by Western defence sales, Russian officials said today.
Mikhail Dmitriev, Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation, said Russia is ready to supply all types of weapons to the countries of the region but he stressed its commitment to international peace and security.
"We consider this region as a very important region for our defence systems," he told reporters during the second day of IDEX 2001.
"We have been in the region for some time and we intend to stay in this market and further develop our share."
He said the creation of a new arms sale body in Russiathe state-controlled Rosoboron exportwould facilitate weapons sales to the region and other countries.
"Our participation in IDEX is very important and we give strong attention to this show because it gives us a chance to show the development of our defence industries,"
" In this exhibition, we are displaying some advanced weapons and we have already had a lot of meetings and discussions with visitors from the region about our products."
Another Russian official was asked whether Russian arms sales to Iran and their growing relationship could hurt ties between Moscow and the GCC countries.
"Let me say that our relations with Iran will be continued because Iran is our neighbour and we are heeding international relations and commitments," said Ivan Goncharenko, deputy director of Rosoboron Export.
"We understand the security concerns of the Gulf states but let me assure you that we supplying Iran only with defensive weapons
we do respect the balance of forces here."
Russia, one of the biggest participants at the five-day IDEX, is exhibiting nearly 400 products displayed as life samples, mock ups, models and posters.