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US discourages Philippines from acquiring Russian weapons
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, several US officials raised the concern during their meeting in Washington last week, explaining that any US ally who will purchase weapons and equipment from Russia would also be penalized and could see the transfer of those arms disrupted for violating a law enacted by the American government last year.
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US discourages Philippines from acquiring Russian weapons

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has discouraged the Philippines from buying military weapons and equipment from Russia as this contravenes US sanctions against Moscow, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday.

According to him, several US officials raised the concern during their meeting in Washington last week, explaining that any US ally who will purchase weapons and equipment from Russia would also be penalized and could see the transfer of those arms disrupted for violating a law enacted by the American government last year.

The US sanctioned Russia, the world’s second largest arms exporter, for its military actions in Ukraine and Syria and for the so-called cyber interference in the American presidential election of 2016.

“They (US officials) also said that it might not be good for the interoperability of our equipment when we go on exercise,” Lorenzana told reporters on the sidelines of the 69th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosted Lorenzana on Sept. 18 with a full honor cordon at the US Department of Defense before a bilateral meeting between their respective delegations. 

Among the items discussed in the meeting were the annual military exercises between the Philippines and the US and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Lorenzana and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo discussed on Sept. 19 the cooperation on addressing regional security challenges, including the militarization of the South China Sea.

“So they raised the problem there plus there’s a sanction. If we buy (from Russia) we can’t pay because the banks will not touch your money because of the sanctions. Those are the problems,” Lorenzana claimed.

Asked if the Philippines would still push through with its procurement of weapons and equipment from Russia, he said: “Not now. Maybe in the future,” even as the country has ongoing procurement with Russia involving small items.

“It (sanctions) affects everybody because if you buy from them it’s the company of Russia that’s sanctioned. So, the bank will not pay them,” he added.

Lorenzana said his meeting with US officials was to help the Philippines push some of its procurement with the US.

“Practically I mentioned the same thing to Sec. Mattis and other people I talked to because we are procuring their 74,000 Glock pistols which is now being certified by the US Congress,” he said, explaining that every defense article the US sells outside must be certified by its Congress. 

According to Lorenzana, the US also offered the Philippines some equipment that it might want to buy, like the F-16 multi-role fighters and attack helicopters.

“They offered. We didn’t ask. We told them ‘we will consider, we will think more because this is very expensive. Expensive to buy, expensive to maintain’,” he said, pointing out that the country needs more helicopters than fighter planes.

Meanwhile, the Philippines and the US have agreed on 281 security cooperation activities for 2019.

Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, and Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), signed the agreements on security cooperation activities for next year during the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) meeting. – With Michael Punongbayan, Emmanuel Tupas

DELFIN LORENZANA RUSSIAN WEAPONS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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