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Russia to compete for helicopter tender to Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

16:56 26/10/2010 LE BOURGET, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will compete for a helicopter tender for the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan, the head of the Russian delegation said at the Euronaval 2010 exhibition in Paris.

"The American side asked us [Rosoboronexport] to participate in the tender that is due to be announced in the shortly," Ivan Goncharenko said, adding that technical talks with the United States had already been held.

Goncharenko said Russia had a chance to win the tender because of its price-quality characteristics.

In May, the United States lifted sanctions against Rosoboronexport that it had earlier blacklisted from tenders with U.S. arms. The sanctions were imposed in 2006 after the U.S. government accused Rosoboronexport of violating nuclear non-proliferation rules.

Despite the ban, dozens of Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopters have been bought by the United States for use in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years via intermediaries as commercial items, thus avoiding direct contact with Rosoboronexport.

Goncharenko also said Russia had signed a contract with Poland's Defense Ministry on the delivery five Mi-17s for the Polish anti-terrorism operation in Afghanistan.

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