Iraqi PM wants defence deal with Russia

Moscow, Oct 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Iraq needs Russian assistance in its defence sector, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.

Arab media reports have said al-Maliki, currently visiting Moscow, will discuss a host of potential economic, political and military projects with Russia worth an estimated $5 billion.

"Some people describe this visit as solely about arms purchases. But that is not the case," he said, responding to media reports previewing his trip.

"Of course, we need Russia's support in the military and defence areas. Iraq needs weapons to defend itself and fight terrorism," the prime minister added.

He highlighted his country's need for weapons used in combat in mountainous and desert terrains.

Asked how the Iraqi authorities will explain Russian arms purchases to the US, al-Maliki said his country did not consult anyone regarding arms purchases.

However, he said his country was willing to work with everyone.

"We have good relations both with the US and with Iran," he added.

On Tuesday, al-Maliki is expected to discuss cooperation in military technology with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and on Wednesday he is due to meet President Vladimir Putin.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


Published Date: Oct 09, 2012 04:30 AM | Updated Date: Oct 09, 2012 04:30 AM