BAGHDAD - Iraq will renegotiate a massive weapons deal with Russia, a spokesman said on Monday, after Baghdad cancelled a $4.2 billion agreement that would have made Moscow Iraq’s biggest supplier after the United States.
The cancellation on account of graft concerns of the initial deal, announced last month while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki was visiting Moscow, was a setback for Russia’s attempts to firm up its slipping foothold in the Middle East and also threw into doubt efforts by Iraq to equip its armed forces.
“The Iraqi government has not signed any deal to buy weapons from Russia so far, but the process is ongoing to purchase weapons from Russia because of Iraq’s needs,” government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said in a statement.
He said Iraq’s National Security Council had decided on Sunday to “fully renegotiate” with Moscow, and had formed a new committee to do so.
“It will renegotiate with Russia to put an end to suspicions of corruption in the weapons deal,” Dabbagh said. Maliki’s spokesman said the deal had been cancelled because of suspicions of corruption.