- Iraq: $4.2 Bln Russian Arms Deal ‘Canceled’
- Iraq Denies Cancellation of $4.2 Bln Arms Deal with Russia
- Iraq Denies US Pressure Over Russia Arms Deal
- Iraq PM Confirms $4 Bln Arms Deal with Russia
MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will deliver attack helicopters and air-defense systems to Iraq before the summer, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Monday.
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 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters from the United States, 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 Defense Minister Sadun Al-Dulaymi denied reports that Bagdad 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-defense systems following October’s visit to Moscow by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, during which he met his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.
An Iraqi government spokesman announced shortly afterwards that the deal was on hold pending a review. "When Maliki returned from his trip to Russia, he had some suspicions of corruption, so he decided to review the whole deal. There is an investigation going on, on this," the spokesman told AFP.
At the time the arms deal was announced in October, the Russian press had hailed it as the country’s largest since 2006.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.