Monday, September 26, 2016

Donation or loan not part of preliminary discussions on PHL-Russia Military-Technical Cooperation

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 26): Donation or loan not part of preliminary discussions on PHL-Russia Military-Technical Cooperation   

The Philippine Embassy in Moscow clarified that the donation to or borrowing of Russian military equipment and technology are not part of any discussions on military and technical cooperation between the Philippines and Russia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) disclosed on Monday.

This clarification was issued in response to an article titled, “Russia arms deal eyed, Moscow planning donation or loan,” which was published locally in its Sunday issue (September 25).

“As stated in our previous press releases, there have been briefings and preliminary discussions with Russia on military technical cooperation,” Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said, adding, “We have also been briefed on the different modes of financing, but there have been no discussions on donating or lending military equipment or technology.”

He also said that he had not spoken to any other reporter regarding this issue.

Sorreta said that the Philippine defense establishment knew what it needed, particularly in terms of internal defense and counterterrorism.

“What we are doing now is to see if the systems we need are available from Russia, if the prices are competitive, if the terms are beneficial to the Philippines, if there will be transfer of technology and if there will be local investments,” Sorreta said.

“There are military items that the Philippines needs to deal decisively with our internal threats that are not readily available from other sources, either because some countries don’t believe we can use these hi-tech systems properly or because of certain country-specific conditionalities,” he further said.

According to the Ambassador, it appears that the military systems and technologies the Philippines needs are available from Russia and “they trust that we will use these in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

In addition, he explained that there were no conditionalities, other than those that generally apply to all nations.

“For example, not to use these to commit acts of aggression in violation of the UN Charter or to develop weapons of mass destruction,” Sorreta pointed out.

Russia sells military equipment and military-related equipment to a host of nations.

The Pentagon has bought a large number of Russian helicopters for use in Afghanistan.

The Republic of Korea has also purchased Russian helicopters for use in different roles. Citing an article in the Wall Street Journal (July 6, 2016),

Sorreta noted that in the five-year period through 2015, Russian arms sales to Southeast Asia more than doubled to nearly USD 5 billion from the preceding five-year period.

In that same time frame, the region accounted for 15 percent of all Russian arms exports, up from 6 percent.

“We also want to make sure as much as possible, should we decide to source military equipment and technology from Russia, we do so at terms no less favorable that those given to our ASEAN neighbors,” the Philippine envoy said.

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