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    Russia begins to capture new Arab arms markets - envoy

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    Russia is beginning to capture new arms markets of Arab countries that were earlier oriented to the West, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said.

    MOSCOW, February 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is beginning to capture new arms markets of Arab countries that were earlier oriented to the West, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said.

    "Russia is beginning to enter new armaments markets where our presence was previously considered as hardly probable. In particular, some Persian Gulf countries, including Qatar and Kuwait, are displaying certain interest in the development of military and technical cooperation," Mikhail Dmitriyev said on the eve of an international defense exhibition opening on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates.

    The Idex-2009 international defense exhibition and conference will take place in Abu Dhabi from February 22 through 26. Russian military systems and technology will be exhibited over an area of 546 square meters, including 84 square meters to be used to showcase the latest developments in Russian ammunition.

    At the same time, Russia has signed and is implementing large-scale deals with Algeria, stepped up cooperation with Libya and Syria, he said. "We are switching to the establishment of partnership relations and cooperation within the general policy of developing and strengthening versatile contacts with the Arab and Islamic world."

    Russia exported $8 billion worth of armaments and military hardware in 2008 and is planning to increase arms exports by 6% to $8.5 billion in 2009.

    The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, warships, air defense systems, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

    Russia exports weapons to over 80 countries. Among the key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

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