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Ecuador confirms purchase of two Russian helicopters

2009-10-28 13:05 BJT

QUITO, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador confirmed on Tuesday it had bought two transport helicopters from Russia, an investment of 22 million U.S. dollars, Ecuadorian Defense Minister Javier Ponce said.

The purchase was negotiated and finished a year ago, and the purchase deal would be sealed during Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's visit to Russia starting Wednesday, the minister reported.

"There is also an opportunity to reach an important support at aerial and ground transport fields, with trucks, buses and other vehicles of military transportation," Ponce added.

Ecuador also expects to expand its number of non-pilot planes. "The idea is to buy six (non-pilot planes), not tactics, but strategic ones," he explained.

According to the defense minister, one of the aims of Correa's visit to Russia was to seek support from Russia to strengthen its armed forces.

Russia is the leading buyer of Ecuador's bananas and flowers. As two major oil and gas producers, Ecuador also seeks to expand cooperation with Russia on energy cooperation.

Ecuador and its leftist ally Venezuela strongly reject Colombia's security pact, which will be signed with the United States this weekend. The pact would allow U.S. troops to get access to Colombia's seven military bases to enhance Colombia's anti-drug and counter-insurgency operations.

Analysts fear the military build-up in Latin American countries could start an arms race in the region.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua