Serbia, Russia Join to Produce Combat Vehicle

The vehicles, to be produced at a new factory in Belgrade, will be used by the Serbian army but also exported to Kenya and Bangladesh.

Serbian leaders on Wednesday called on Russia to invest further in the country and announced plans that the two allies would jointly produce a military vehicle meant for export.

"It is necessary to improve cooperation in the defense industry, but also in other fields of the economy," Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic was quoted as saying after a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Serbia and Russia will jointly create a combat vehicle in a new factory to be opened by the end of the year in Velika Plana, 36 miles south of Belgrade, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said.

The vehicles are to be used by the Serbian army but also exported to Kenya and Bangladesh, said Vucic, who is also the Defense Minister.

The Russians were also interested in buying ammunitions and explosives produced in Serbia, Vucic said.

Russia has so far invested mainly in Serbia's energy sector. In 2009, the Russian gas giant Gazprom bought Serbia's oil monopoly NIS and last week Moscow approved a five-year loan worth $800 million to invest into the rail system and buy locomotives.

Russia has been Serbia's main ally on the international political scene, refusing to recognize Kosovo's independence, which was proclaimed unilaterally in 2008 and supported by the United States and most EU member states.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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