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UPDATED: 19:32, November 28, 2006
Indonesia reduces reliance on western countries: Defense Minister
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The Indonesian government has begun to reduce reliance on western countries in arms purchase and turned to East European countries as sparring suppliers, an official said Tuesday.

The purchase of lethal weapons from western countries like the United States, France and Britain will be reduced to 60 percent from 80 percent as the government is now looking to East European countries as the main suppliers, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono told reporters here.

"From the United States, we focus on the purchase of personnel aircraft and radar. From Russia, we intend to buy jetfighters, submarines and combat helicopters," he said.

"We are now flexible (in purchasing arms) from either western or eastern countries."

The Russian government has granted recently a 1 billion U.S. dollars credit for Indonesia's arms purchase.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is slated to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin early in December for further talks on the arms deal.

Earlier reports said Indonesia plans to buy five new cargo helicopters, four combat helicopters, two submarines and six jetfighters from Russia using the 1 billion dollars export credit.

Source: Xinhua

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