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ARMS SALES TO 3RD WORLD FELL IN ’92

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Post-Cold War arms sales to the Third World fell sharply in 1992 as the United States cemented its position as the dominant supplier of weapons.

An annual report by the Congressional Research Service found that the United States accounted for 57 percent of the arms exported to the Third World last year, while Russia supplied only 5 percent.In 1985, the first year the report was compiled, the former Soviet Union was responsible for one-third of all arms sales, while the United States sold only 9 percent of the total.

The report said worldwide sales last year were $23.9 billion, down from $28.6 billion in 1991 and $65 billion in 1985 as measured in constant 1992 dollars.

The United States supplied $13.6 billion, with nearly 90 percent of that in military equipment contracts with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Taiwan.

The U.S. sales were down from $14 billion in 1991, but the share of worldwide sales rose from 49 percent to 57 percent as Russia and China showed large decreases.

Soviet sales reached a peak of $28.8 billion in 1986 in constant 1992 dollars, but by 1991 had dropped to $5.9 billion. Russia, which inherited most of the Soviet arms industry, only sold $1.3 billion last year.

The report said that while Russia sees arms sales to Iran, China and others as a way to raise hard currency, prospective buyers worry "that Russia may not be a reliable supplier of the spare parts and support services needed to utilize its weapons systems."