by Staff Writers
Sao Paulo (AFP) Feb 20, 2013
Brazil agreed Wednesday to open talks with Russia on buying surface-to-air missile batteries.
The deal was reached in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, with negotiations due to start in March, the foreign ministry said.
A ministry statement said the countries were committed to "the joint development of new defense products and to the participation of strategic Brazilian defense companies in the production processes with full, effective technology transfer."
Brazil is keen to develop a home-grown defense industry and over the past years has tied defense contracts to full technology transfer, so it can build weapons on its own in the future.
The defense ministry said Brasilia was interested in acquiring from Russia three Pantsir-S1 medium-range surface-to-air missile batteries and two batteries of portable anti-aircraft missile systems.
This follows a visit to Moscow in late January by General Jose Carlos de Nardi, head of the armed forces Joint Staff. He led a delegation of government and corporate officials.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff also discussed the issue during her visit to the Russian capital in December.
There was no word on the value of the contract.
Medvedev and Rousseff held talks on defense, energy and nuclear issues and on upcoming meetings of the G20 group of leading economies and the BRICS group of emerging nations.
Leaders of the BRICS -- Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa -- are to hold their next summit in Durban, South Africa, in March.
The Russian prime minister was here to attend the annual meeting of a joint high-level bilateral commission along with Temer.
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