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Medvedev Warns of Foreign Aerospace Competition

Medvedev presiding over a Cabinet meeting Friday.

State-owned airlines, other government-owned aircraft operators and the Defense Ministry will buy foreign planes if domestic plane builders are unable to provide competitive products, Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev warned Friday.

Medvedev made the comments as he approved a government program to develop the national aerospace industry to 2025 at a Cabinet meeting.

"Our producers should feel foreigners breathing down their necks. Otherwise nothing will happen," he said. "Other major aviation powers — in the United States and Europe — still buy foreign-made aircraft so that their own industry evolves. We need to do everything to ensure the right level of competitiveness in our aviation industry," he said.

Russia will add 100 new runways at airports around the country in the next seven years as part of a massive expansion of transportation infrastructure, Medvedev said.

Medvedev also set targets of upping cargo capacity at the country's seaports by 356 million tons, rebuilding 14,000 kilometers of roads and extending the country's railways by 2,500 kilometers by 2020.

Priority will be given to developing transport links to remote communities.

"Access to transport must be universal, and this access must be extended to the whole country. And, of course, to a large extent to develop Siberia and the Far East, as more distant and in this sense cut-off parts of our country," he said.

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