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INTERNATIONAL

Panama reaches agreement with Finmeccanica

Temas:

The government of Panama and the consortium Finmeccanica have reached a new agreement to end the conflict over a $250 million defense contract the two sides signed in 2010 during the government of Ricardo Martinelli, President Juan Carlos Varela has announced.

One of the points of the agreement states that the contract signed with Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex for the installation of a coastal surveillance system is terminated by mutual agreement. This involves the removal of radars and complementary equipment in Panama.

Panama will not have to make additional payments on the basis of that contract, which it still owed $41.8 million. It will also receive a credit of $31.9 million to buy helicopters from the company, or parts and equipment for the current fleet, or any other product offered by the conglomerate, said the Panamanian Ambassador in Italy, Fernando Berguido.

The presidency announced that the credit represents the total received by Selex minus the value of the civil and infrastructure works already made by the company, as well as the amount disbursed by Selex for the repair and overhaul of five ships donated by the Italian government to the Panamanian government.

He added that the parties recognized that the problems arising with the coastal surveillance system was not due to the quality of the radars produced by Selex but because it was a system based on fixed radars, which were unsuitable for the country's security strategy in the detection of the small boats used for drug trafficking and smuggling.

The contract to purchase six helicopters from Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland was not changed, since the helicopters are being used successfully by the National Aeronaval Service.

In relation to the contract with the company Telespazio, it was agreed that it will be renegotiated by means of an addendum, allowing the completion of a digital map of the country which, at the time of the suspension of the contract, was 80 percent complete. Also, it will include the additional work requested in 2011.

On the issue of commissions for "trade promotion contracts" that were at the time agreed with the company Agafea Corp. the company says that this commission was not paid. Panama maintains that they represent a cost overrun in the agreed price. Therefore, as proof of its interest to end any dispute and to restore trade relations between the two parties, Finmeccanica transferred, free of charge, a helicopter ambulance to Panama to be used in rescue and humanitarian aid work. Its value is 8.1 million euros.

It was reported that the agreement is conditional on the lifting of the temporary suspension of the Selex and Telespazio contracts ordered by the third chamber of the Supreme Court.

Similarly, it must be approved by the Attorney General and the Office of the Comptroller.

Ambassador Berguido, during a press conference held in the Presidency, acknowledged the effort that the new leadership of Finmeccanica made in order to achieve a solution to the conflict.

Varela thanked Ambassador Berguido and his team for reaching the agreement.

Gabinete aprobó el acuerdo. Expandir Imagen
Gabinete aprobó el acuerdo. CORTESÍA/Presidencia de Panamá

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