Saturday, March 19, 2011

Russia may lose $6 bln on Algeria, Syria arms contracts - expert

Russia risks losing over $6 billion on arms contracts with Algeria and Syria if the situation in these countries destabilizes, a Russian expert on arms industry said on Thursday.

"Arms sales to Algeria and Syria constitute about one-eight of Russia's portfolio of arms orders worldwide, which totals $48 billion," said Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on international arms trade.

Russia, the second largest arms exporter in the world after the United States, has already experienced difficulties with some of its lucrative arms contracts following the wave of unrest currently sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.

In addition, a political crisis in Syria may prevent Russia from using its only naval base abroad, which is located in the Syrian port of Tartus.

Fortunately for Russia, Syria has been spared the wave of uprisings in the Middle East, and the recent unrest in Algeria has so far been contained and attempts by the opposition to organize nationwide protests have lost momentum.

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