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Zimbabwe leader rejects offer for Soviet weapons

By WITH ANALYSIS FROM MONITOR CORRESPONDENTS AROUND THE WORLD, EDITED BY DEBRA K. PIOT / June 12, 1980



Salisbury, Zimbabwe

In a bid to deny the Kremlin a foothold in Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has rejected an offer from his former guerrilla co-leader to bring Soviet-made warplanes and tanks into the new nation. Security officials said Mr. Mugabe's former Patriotic Front co-leader, Joshua Nkomo, offered to bring in 11 T-34 tanks and several unused MIG aircraft that belonged to Mr. Nkomo's army and are now stored in neighboring Zambia. Prime Minister Mugabe rejected the offer because he was not prepared to foster dependence on the Soviet Union by incorporating the Russian hardware into Zimbabwe's Army, thereby creating a demand for spare parts and instructors.

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