Monday, March 26, 2012

Czech Republic may give Phl defense equipment

MANILA, Philippines - The Czech Republic yesterday expressed interest in providing the Philippines with defense equipment to modernize its military and improve the national defense capability.

Visiting First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg told a press conference that the two countries have discussed what equipment the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would need and the defense supplies his country can offer, like planes, small arms and Czech pistols.

“We are in talks on the need of the Philippines. We offer products. We are very much interested in this area because we have several products,” Schwarzenberg said.
“There are special guns for the army which are very good quality.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Czech Republic is ready to provide defense suppliers for the Philippine military modernization.

“I think the minister said it can go as huge as airplanes and as small as smallest firearms but I don’t have details on that,” Del Rosario also told the news conference.

The Philippines is also exploring other means of military assistance and cooperation from the United States.

Washington has assured the Philippines help in obtaining F-16 jet fighters to improve the country’s defense capability.

Del Rosario earlier said that the Philippines’ plan to obtain a squadron of F-16 was discussed on Feb. 10 in a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro in Manila.

Shapiro visited the country to consult with senior civilian and military officials on further enhancing defense and security cooperation for the mutual benefit of the US and the Philippines.

Shapiro said the Philippines indicated that the country wants to take a good look at that option. The US said they would look for those units and help the Philippines assess the cost so that the country can plan accordingly.

The US has expressed willingness to help the Philippines obtain a squadron of F-16s.

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Pia Lee-Brago | The Philippine Star | March 25, 2012 | Article Link