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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Unified air defense system deal may be signed in late Nov.

RIA Novosti

14/11/2006 15:22 MINSK, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Belarus may sign an agreement to form a unified air defense system during a meeting of the former Soviet republics' defense ministers November 23, a Belarusian military official said Tuesday.

The unified air defense system is in line with plans to create a Union State that the two former Soviet allies have been working on since 1997, which envisions a common economic, customs, and political space.

Although talks on the Union State stalled recently over a host of issues, including gas prices, military cooperation between the countries seems to be gaining momentum.

Oleg Paferov, commander of Belarus' Air Force and Air Defense Troops said the deal, which is to be signed in Brest, will solve many problems, including the purchase of arms.

"When the agreement is signed, arms will be bought for the uniform air defense system of both countries, and not only for Belarus through protracted talks as before," Paferov said.

Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on deliveries of S-300 (SA-10 Grumble) anti-aircraft missile systems in September 2005. Russia delivered two systems in April, and they have already been deployed near Brest, on the border with Poland.

By December 1, another two S-300 systems will be put on combat duty near Grodno.

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