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Sunday, June 06, 2004

El Universal Online - Mexico Expanding Military Ties With Russia

El Universal Online - Versi�n para imprimir

Busca Fox planta rusa para helicópteros
Jorge Alejandro Medellín
El Universal
Ciudad de México
Domingo 06 de junio de 2004

El mandatario mexicano busca se consolide el segundo complejo en
Hidalgo y Veracruz para el ensamble de unidades militares serie Mil Mi, con
la visita de Vladimir Putin

15:05 El presidente Vicente Fox buscará concretar un acuerdo
comercial y tecnológico con el gobierno de Rusia, para que éste instale en
Hidalgo y Veracruz plantas de maquinaria pesada para la industria militar,
ensamble y mantenimiento de helicópteros de guerra de la serie Mil Mi.

Esto sucederá durante la primera visita de Estado que realizará a
México el mandatario de Rusia, Vladimir Putin, en la que podría consolidarse
la instalación de la segunda planta de armado de helicópteros de guerra,
dado que en Campeche operan desde el 2001 los hangares del consorcio lituano
Avia Baltika, que desde 1998 surte de material aéreo a la Secretaría de la
Defensa Nacional (Sedena), a la Armada de México y a la Policía Federal
Preventiva (PFP).


Avia Baltika, que inició operaciones en hangares de la Armada en
Campeche, controla a la empresa "Kazan Helicopter", encargada de dar
mantenimiento aquí a las aeronaves militares de las dependencias
mencionadas.


El pasado miércoles, durante una gira de trabajo por Ciudad Sahún,
Hidalgo, el presidente Vicente Fox adelantó su intención de firmar acuerdos
con el gobierno ruso para instalar en México una de maquinaria pesada para
la industria militar, y otra para el mantenimiento y ensamble de
helicópteros bélicos.


***************************************************
TRANSLATION

Fox wants to expand military ties with Russia
BY JOHN RICE/Associated Press
El Universal
Viernes 04 de junio de 2004
Nuestro mundo, página 7

THE PRESIDENT SAYS THE PRINCIPLE TOPIC OF TALKS WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN
WILL BE MORE COOPERATION ON MAKING HELICOPTERS.

President Vicente Fox says his country hopes to expand military cooperation
with Russia, assembling some Russian helicopters here and importing a mixed
civilian-military factory. Speaking in the state of Hidalgo on Wednesday,
Fox
said the arms issue would be "a principal topic" in talks with Russian
President Vladimir Putin, who is scheduled to arrive on Monday. Fox gave few
details, but said possible projects include "the installation of a large
maintenance center for helicopters" as the first step in a plan to assemble
helicopters in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz.

The president said he also hoped to sign an agreement with Putin for a plant
that would assemble heavy machinery "for the military industry, heavy
machinery for the construction industry, heavy and transport machinery for
various uses that occur in a dynamic economy." Fox said that factory was
intended for Ciudad Sahagun, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of
Mexico City. The president mentioned the arms plans briefly during a speech
dedicated to regional economic development. Mexico largely avoided Russian
equipment during the Cold War.

But since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, it has begun to adopt some
Russian
equipment, which is less expensive than that sold by the neighboring United
States or most European suppliers. The Air Force and Navy operate at least
56
Russian-made transport helicopters, according to the International Institute
for Strategic Studies.

Retired Gen. Luis Garcías Magaña, a former federal congressman, said Mexico
would have to carefully study which Russian material should be made here,
"not
because it is bad, but because the investment is very high." "Weapons and
helicopters that is complicated because you not only have to bring the
factory
but also bring experts, as they did with former Soviets in Cuba, to train
Mexican personnel." He noted that such factories often can be used for
civilian production as well. "From the practical point of view, the Mexican
armed forces don't need huge things." Marco Vicenzino, a Latin America
specialist at the IISS Washington office, said the projects were not likely
to
create a problem with the United States. "You're not talking missiles here,"
he said. "I don't see any major threat." "It just gives competition for the
market."




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