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Iraq Pledges to Honor Russian Arms Deals, Voice of Russia Says

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq will honor contracts to buy Russian helicopters and air-defense systems, though for “far less” than $4.2 billion announced by Russia, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in an interview with Voice of Russia.

The first deliveries will probably take place in mid-year, Zebari told the state broadcaster, according to a transcript of the interview posted on the radio station’s website. There has been a delay in implementing the contracts because the Iraqi parliament must first approve the 2013 budget, he said.

In October, the Russian government said Iraq will purchase more than $4.2 billion of weapons from Russia under contracts signed in recent months. Iraq is buying 30 Russian MI-28 attack helicopters, worth $2 billion, along with 42 Pantsir short-to-medium-range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon systems, worth $2.3 billion, according to Russian state broadcaster RT.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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