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Russian arms due in Iraq by this summer

BAGHDAD, March 4 (UPI) — Iraq will receive deliveries of attack helicopters and air defense systems from Russia before the start of summer, the Iraqi foreign minister said Monday.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the arms would be delivered before the beginning of the summer “at the latest,” RIA Novosti reported.

The announcement came after Iraq’s acting Defense Minister Sadum al-Dulaymi denied reports in November Baghdad was canceling a $4.2 billion arms deal with Russia over concerns about corruption.

Russia and Iraq had reached a deal for Russian Mi-28NE attack helicopters and Pantsyr mobile air-defense systems in October but an Iraqi spokesman said shortly afterward the deal was on hold.

Zebari said Monday Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters from the United States were due to be begin delivery in 2014.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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