Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says that Baghdad will receive its shipment of Russian attack helicopters and air-defense systems before the summer.
“I believe the first arms deliveries from Russia to Iraq will start before the beginning of the summer at the latest,” Zarbari said in an interview with Golos Rossii Radio on Monday.
Zebari added that Baghdad also expects to receive Lochkeed Martin F-16 fighters from the United States in 2014 and that Iraq “has no problems with the Americans on this deal.”
In Novemebr 2012, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said that the government has cancelled an arms deal with Russia worth 4.2 billion dollars over what Baghdad called ‘corruption’ concerns.
"The deal was cancelled," spokesman Ali Mussawi announced. "Now we have started new negotiations [with Moscow] because we want weapons."
However, Iraq’s acting Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi, who negotiated the deal directly, contradicted the prime minister's office, insisting nothing had been cancelled.
Russian media said the deliveries covered 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems.
The sale, which was signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Maliki in October 2012, makes Russia Iraq’s second-biggest arms supplier after the United States.