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Russia’s UN envoy points to flaws in new aircraft procurement rules

May 12, 2015, 10:45 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
A US company provided a helicopter manufactured more than 45 years ago
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Vitaly Churkin

Vitaly Churkin

© EPA/ ANDREW GOMBERT

UNITED NATIONS, May 12. /TASS/. Russia considers new solicitation procedure for air charter requirements in the UN peacekeeping missions imperfect, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Monday.

"If earlier one of the main factors was the lowest cost while aircraft met the requirements, now the UN started to draw on a large number of technical criteria, the full list of which was not published prior to the tender," Churkin said. "Unfortunately, this did not give a chance to many vendors, including Russian ones, to effectively shape their proposals and compete for contracts," he added.

The diplomat noted that two companies won contracts in the pilot project - one from US and one from South Africa. The US company provided a helicopter manufactured more than 45 years ago, while the total value of the two-year contract awarded to the company - $13 million - "is almost double the cost of a similar helicopter at the previous tenders."

"We are still trying to understand the grounds for this decision. The Secretariat’s reference to the more fuel-efficient aircraft engines or cheaper maintenance can hardly justify the multimillion differences in the cost of a winner helicopter. An important question is whether it is safe to fly such an antique aircraft," Churkin stressed. "Surely, it is up to the experts to decide on aircraft wear and tear, nevertheless I believe that it is obvious to everyone that operating almost half a century old machine is fraught with problems," he pointed out.

"To recap, I should say that both the companies and the [UN] Member States still have a lot of questions concerning the new solicitation methodology. The [UN] Secretariat should conduct significant work to address these concerns and ensure full compliance of this model’s parameters with the fundamental principles of the UN procurement," the diplomat concluded.

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