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05 Jun 06,, 16:05
RP-Poland eye joint venture on arms manufacture

First posted 03:47pm (Mla time) June 05, 2006
By Joel Guinto

THE PHILIPPINES and Poland are eyeing a joint venture for arms manufacture as part of efforts at defense cooperation between the two countries, officials said Monday.
At the same time, Warsaw offered Manila a 140-million-dollar credit facility for the purchase of defense equipment, officials announced during Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski's courtesy call to Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr.'s in Camp Aguinaldo.

Cruz and Sikorski said arms manufacturers from both countries were in talks for the possible joint venture.

"We can evolve a joint venture or cooperation on manufacturing small arms and ammunition," Cruz told a news conference.

"We just don't want to sell thins to the Philippines. We want to invest here," Sikorski said. "Our companies are talking."

Cruz said the defense cooperation between the two countries could cover exchange of visits and intelligence information.

"We want to enter into a defense cooperation agreement that explores many areas," he said.

Sikorski refused to elaborate on the credit facility, except that it would be paid in eight and a half years with a two-year grace period.

Rosulo Manlangit, spokesman of the Department of National Defense (DND), said the proposed loan would amount to 140 million dollars.

"This [credit facility] is for the purchase of equipment," Sikorski said.

Sikorski arrived in the country Sunday afternoon. He is the first Polish defense minister to visit the Philippines.

Prior to his meeting with Cruz, Sikorski was given full military honors at the Camp Aguinaldo grandstand. He is also set to pay a courtesy visit to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Arturo Lomibao in Camp Crame.