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Russia freezes Su-30 fighter jet deliveries to Algeria

RIA Novosti

28/03/2008 14:44 MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has postponed deliveries of Su-30MKI fighter jets to Algeria over non-payment, following the North African country's decision to return 15 MiG-29 fighters, a business daily said on Friday.

According to Kommersant, Algeria failed to transfer payment for 28 aircraft in early February. It froze all payments under military contracts with Russia in October 2007, requiring that Moscow first take back 15 MiG-29 fighter jets over their "inferior quality."

Irkut Corporation, one of Russia's largest aerospace holding companies, which manufactures Su-30MKs, said it had delivered six aircraft to Algeria so far but would suspend further deliveries.

Russia's industry agency previously said that the termination of the contract to deliver MiG-29s would not affect other contracts under a Russian-Algerian cooperation deal.

Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport had signed a contract to deliver 29 one-seat MiG-29SMT Fulcrum fighters and six two-seat MiG-29UB fighters to Algeria in March 2006 as part of an $8 billion military-technical cooperation agreement.

Algeria began refusing deliveries in May 2007. Analysts suggest Algeria may have opted instead for French Rafale fighters as France builds up its presence in the North African state.

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