Big News Network (IANS)
Monday 4th March, 2013
Russia will deliver attack helicopters and air-defence systems to Iraq before the summer, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.
Delivery of the Russian arms will start as soon as financial matters are dealt with, he added.
“I believe the first arms deliveries from Russia to Iraq will start before the beginning of the summer at the latest,” he said in an interview with Golos Rossii Radio.
Concerning Iraq’s plans to buy Lochkeed Martin F-16 fighters from the US, Zebari said Iraq “has no problems with the Americans on this deal”.
“Deliveries are due to begin in 2014,” he said.
In November, Iraq’s acting defence minister Sadun Al-Dulaymi denied reports that Baghdad was annulling a $4.2 billion arms deal with Russia over concerns about possible corruption.
Russia and Iraq had announced an agreement to deliver Russian Mi-28NE attack helicopters and Pantsyr mobile air-defence systems following a visit in October to Moscow by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, during which he met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
At the time, when the arms deal was announced in October, the Russian press had hailed it as the country’s largest since 2006.
Under the deal, Moscow is to supply 30 Mil Mi-28NE night/all-weather capable attack helicopters, and 50 Pantsyr-S1 gun-missile short-range air defence systems.
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