Peru’s Alan García and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign a series of bilateral agreements, military cooperation with Russia strengthened

Peru President Alan García met Monday with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, to exchange views on international and regional matters of mutual interest as well as tick off a series of bilateral agreements in Lima’s Government Palace, on the heels of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Summit, or APEC.

“It’s impossible that (Peru’s) exports (to Russia) range from $13 to $15 million per year after we have commercialized more than $300 million and exported hundreds of millions (worth of goods) to Russia in the past,” said García, who announced that Peru-Russia commercial relations would be reinvigorated.

García and Medvedev, who was greeted with military honors as part of his state visit to Peru on Monday after his participation in the 16th APEC Summit over the weekend, endorsed a series of bilateral cooperation agreements, making Peru and Russia renewed “cultural, economic and political partners.” The signed agreements touch upon technological, military, scientific and cultural issues.

An agreement was also struck between Peru’s Banco de la Nación and Russia’s Bank of Foreign Commerce and Development, in order to promote commercial exchanges.

“Russia is a world power, with great natural resources,” said José Antonio García Belaunde, Peru’s minister of foreign affairs. “It has accumulated much wealth and now needs markets and space to sell and buy.”

García and Medvedev also agreed to pursue military cooperation, including technical support for the repair and upgrade of Peru’s Russian-manufactured helicopters.

The Peruvian government considers the repair vitally important, reported state news agency Andina.

In 2005, former President Alejandro Toledo signed a multi-million-dollar contract with Rosoboroneksport, Russia’s state arms dealer, to repair the Peruvian Air Force’s 13 MI-17 Russian-made helicopters. So far, eight of these choppers have been upgraded and repaired.

Established by presidential decree in 2000, Rosoboroneksport is Russia’s only intermediary agency for the export and import of military and dual-purpose products, technologies and services.

Peru was one of the first Latin American countries to initiate military cooperation with the then Soviet Union. The Andean country owns MI-18, MI-17 and MI-25 helicopters, assault aircraft, MIG-29 jet fighters, and Russian tanks bought in the 1980s and 90s.

Given the wear, many of the helicopters must be refurbished and upgraded in order to prolong service life.

García is also scheduled to meet with Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Monday afternoon.

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