14 Sep 2017 10:56

Russian, U.S. envoys to discuss delivery of Russian helicopters to Afghanistan on UN General Assembly sidelines - newspaper

MOSCOW. Sept 14 (Interfax) - The special representatives of Russia and the United States will discuss the further supply of Russian helicopters to Afghanistan on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the newspaper Izvestia said on Thursday, citing the Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan and Director of the Foreign Ministry's Second European Department, Zamir Kabulov.

"The United States said it was ready to invest several billion dollars in the establishment of the Afghan Air Force. Yet it is trying to substitute Russian helicopters with ones made in America. If this is really so, we have nothing to discuss. However, if the United States is ready to resume successful cooperation with Russia, we may consider formats for it. I mean, we are ready to sell if Washington is ready to buy Russian helicopters for the Afghan government," the newspaper quoted Kabulov as saying.

"Russia is open to a dialogue on the Afghanistan problem," he said, indicating which matters he might address at the meeting with the acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Alice Wells.

"The high-level meeting has been proposed by the United States. I will be at the UN General Assembly, so I have told our U.S. partners that I am ready for the dialogue. We will discuss everything pertaining to Afghanistan and the so-called new U.S. policy on Afghanistan. The meeting will take place between September 18 and 22," Kabulov said.

Moscow made itself clear on the possibility of military-technical cooperation with the Afghan government a long time ago, he said.

The Afghan government was buying Russian helicopters, primarily Mil Mi-35, and the United States was fully covering the expenses before the West imposed sanctions on Moscow, the newspaper said. All military-technical contacts between Moscow and Kabul came to a halt after Russia-U.S. relations deteriorated, it said.