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Vietnam, Russia sign deals on defence, nuclear energy

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Dec 15, 2009
Vietnam and Russia signed a major arms deal and a nuclear energy agreement on Tuesday, in a sign of reviving ties between Moscow and its former Soviet-era ally in Southeast Asia.

Hanoi agreed to buy Russian-made submarines and aircraft in the arms deal, which was signed in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his visiting Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung.

"Vietnam signed a contract for the purchase of submarines, planes and military equipment with the corresponding cooperation of the Russian side," Dung said in remarks translated into Russian.

Details were not released on the deal between Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Vietnam's defence ministry.

However the Interfax news agency, citing an unnamed defence industry source, reported that Vietnam had agreed to buy six Russian-made submarines for a total price tag of about two billion dollars (1.37 billion euros).

The six Kilo-class diesel-electric subs would be built for the Vietnamese navy at a rate of one per year, Interfax reported.

Moscow and Hanoi also inked a deal on the construction of Vietnam's first atomic power plant.

Last month the Vietnamese parliament approved building the country's first nuclear power station, a lucrative project that has been keenly watched by potential foreign partners.

The agreement signed in Moscow was described as a memorandum on cooperation between Vietnamese electricity company EVN and Russia's state-owned atomic energy firm Rosatom, which had been interested in the project.

"Vietnam officially invites the Russian side to cooperate in the building of the first atomic energy plant in Vietnam under adherence to the necessary conditions," Dung said, without elaborating.

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