Russia will offer jets to Manila, Jakarta

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 July, 1997, 12:00am

Indonesia and the Philippines are being offered Russian jet fighters as Moscow takes advantage of the forum to push military hardware sales.

Diplomatic sources said Russia was keen to expand sales in the region after successful deals involving the MIG 29 and SU-27 fighters.

Both Indonesia and the Philippines were believed to be firmly 'in the market', sources said.

As a protest over political criticism, Jakarta pulled out of a deal with Washington earlier this year to buy nine F-16 fighters and has since been eyeing both French and Russian planes.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas is due to meet his Russian counterpart Yevgeny Primakov today on a range of issues. Sources believe defence will be discussed.

The Philippines, meanwhile, is also facing Russian overtures.

'We are looking to buy if the price is right and the technology is right,' Foreign Minister Domingo Siazon told the Post. 'Russian planes are certainly an option.' Manila is keen to develop its military - one of the region's weakest - in the wake of China's controversial occupation of Mischief Reef two years ago.

Moscow also recently completed a deal with Vietnam to sell six SU-27 fighters.


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