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Airbus repayment deal close

Oct 07 2010 12:54 Reuters

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Cape Town - South Africa's negotiations with European aerospace group EADS for the repayment of R2.9bn ($416m) could be finalised before the end of this year, a senior military official said on Thursday.

Last year, South Africa pulled out of Europe's largest defence project when it cancelled a $5.2bn contract to buy eight military transport aircraft from the Airbus parent due to rising costs and delivery delays.

"I cannot disclose the details of the negotiations but I can indicate to you it's looking very good," Mpumi Mpofu, South Africa's Secretary of Defence, told reporters.

Africa's largest economy has not ruled out considering Airbus in future tenders, as it seeks to update an ageing air fleet with a strategic airlift capacity seen as vital to its peace-keeping efforts on the continent.

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