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09:04 AM, December 18, 2018
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Su-35 fighter jets in operation in Syria

Indonesia is yet to sign a ‘purchasing contract’ with Russia upon which the 11 Su-35 fighter jets which it has agreed to buy would enter the production phase.

"I cannot confirm when the planes will arrive in Indonesia, because it needs to be produced. But hopefully, the contract can be finished (soon)," Russian ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva, was quoted as saying to ANTARA news in Jakarta on Monday.

The ambassador’s statement has come as a surprise as the negotiations for the purchase 11 Sukhoi-35fighter jets from Russia were supposed to have been completed, and the contract signed in Feb 2018. Under the contract, worth US$1.14 billion, Russia is required to buy Indonesian palm oil, coffee, rubber and tea worth at least $570 million and the other half to be paid in cash.

However, according to Vorobieva, “some technical aspects still need to be discussed, and hopefully, it can be resolved in 2019,” the news agency reported.

Other reports have said that paying the 50% balance in hard currency could prove to be a problem as the Russian arms exporting agency, Rosoboronexport is under US sanctions which prohibits it from receiving funds through the US banking system.

Indonesia too faces the threat of US sanctions though Washington has not yet spoken out against the Russian deal to sell 11 Su-35 jets to Jakarta.

Russia has got around the problem of sanctions by entering into a currency swap deal with India to which it sold $5.6 billion worth S-400 air defence system.

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