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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saudi in talks with Russia over weapons sales: Diplomat
The Peninsula - 10 September, 2006
Source :AFP
 
RIYADH -  Saudi Arabia is in talks with Russia over the possible purchase of
Russian weapons for the first time by the oil-rich kingdom, which has
traditionally used Western defense systems, a Western diplomat said
yesterday.
 
A team of Russian military experts visited Saudi Arabia in late August to
discuss with Saudi military committees the possible sale to Riyadh of T-95
main battle tanks and Mi-17 helicopters, he told AFP, requesting anonymity.
 
"The visit was not the first. It was preceded by several visits by experts"
from the Russian state arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, according to
the source.
 
Saudi arms experts have also visited Moscow to discuss Russian offers of
weapons, and tests were carried out on the T-95 in
Saudi Arabia to determine the tank's suitability to harsh desert conditions,
the diplomat added.
 
The Saudi armed forces' needs in terms of battle tanks are estimated at
around 300. Saudi military experts had conducted tests on French Leclerc
tanks more than two years ago.
 
According to French officials, Leclerc tanks are among weapons systems
Riyadh is expected to buy from France under two military accords signed by
the two countries in July.

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