Guatemala Wants Russian Arms in Exchange for Coffee and Sugar

Dmitry Medvedev had an official meeting with President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom in the Moscow Kremlin on March 22. Mr. Colom arrived in Russia for a three-day visit to discuss a number of issues on economic cooperation.

In their joint statement Medvedev and Colom set out mutual interest in developing bilateral economic ties between Russia and Guatemala. The two countries also agreed to counteract the deployment of weapons in space, Itar-Tass reports.

Guatemala’s vice President Rafal Espada told Medvedev during the official meeting in the Kremlin that Guatemala would be interested in acquiring Russian arms in exchange for food.

“Guatemala is interested in acquiring planes, armored vehicles and other arms to struggle against organized crime in the country. We could pay for the arms with coffee and sugar,” Espada said.

Guatemalan officials already discussed the issue with Russian diplomats last week, Espada said. Guatemala’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Juan Jose Ruis and five other high-ranking officials of the nation’s defense department took part in the talks.

Espada said that Russia provided the information about the arms, which would be of interest for the armed forces and the national police of Guatemala.

It is worthy of note that the director of Russia’s Federal Service for Defense Cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriyev, has recently stated that Russia was beginning to develop new markets of arms.

Russia currently follows the USA as the world’s second largest exporter of arms. The Russian Federation covered 24 percent of the arms market from 2005 to 2009.

Guatemala, a Latin American state, became closer to Russia when the International Olympic Committee announced the right to host Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi. The announcement was made in 2007 in Guatemala . The political dialogue between Russia and Guatemala has become more active since then. The presidents of the two countries conducted their first meeting in 2007; Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited the country in February 2010.

The commodity circulation between Russia and Guatemala was evaluated at $34.7 million, including the Russian export – $26.5 million – and import – $8.2 million. Russian exports to Guatemala consist of fertilizers, paper, cardboard, plastic and ferrous metals. Imports from Guatemala consist of tobacco products, coffee, fruit and nuts.

Russia Today: Russia, Guatemala find new areas of cooperation

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov