Russian, Polish Defence Ministers negotiate in Warsaw

In the late hours of Wednesday Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and his Polish counterpart Jerzy Szmajdzinski completed the first round of negotiations in Warsaw. The focus of negotiations was military and technical cooperation between the two countries.

Colonel Eugeniusz Mleczak, the Polish Defence Ministry's press spokesman, told journalists that apart from this, the two delegations had exchanged views on the situation in the world and had also discussed ways to establish cooperation between Polish army units and Russian troops stationed in the Kalinigrad region.

According to the press spokesman, nonetheless, the issue at the top of the agenda of the two-hour talks was the repairs and maintenance of Soviet military equipment, which is dominating in the Polish armed forces.

Colonel Mleczak reported that the talks were highly likely to result in a contract between the Russian MiG aircraft building company and a Polish aircraft repairing plant on repairing and up-grading MiG-29 fighters. According to him, this contract will be valid for both the fighters that have already been commissioned by the Polish armed forces and those to be delivered from Germany which inherited them from the Democratic Republic of Germany.

He also reported that Poland was interested in concluding a similar contract on repairing and up-grading Mi-24 gun ships from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic that had already granted Poland the right to do so. This refers to a total of about 100 helicopters of this class. "This agreement is still being negotiated although this process is nearing its final stage," Mleczak reported.

Ivanov previously stated that Russia was ready for a large-scale military and technical cooperation provided that it was acknowledged that "Russia is a successor of the USSR in relation to all rights for weapons produced in the USSR." The Minister emphasised that his stance was that "such rights belonged to Moscow alone and that Russia will not stand any 'home-made' versions of the aforesaid armament systems and equipment which have recently flooded Europe."

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