Iraq To Buy Czech Military Planes For $1 Billion [View all]
PRAGUE (AP) -- Iraq has agreed to buy 28 Czech-made military airplanes in a deal worth $1 billion ((EURO)775 million), part of a broader effort by Baghdad to rebuild military capabilities destroyed during the U.S.-led invasion of the country, officials said Friday.
Iraq only has a few planes and is unable to defend its air space. The government has bought billions of dollars in tanks, fighter jets, ships and other weapons from the U.S. in recent years, but is now looking to forge military ties with other allies and nations, including Russia.
"We want to boost the ties with our old friends," Iraqi Defense Minister Saad al-Dulaimi said in a statement.
Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra and Al-Dulaimi agreed to the deal Friday after a visit to the headquarters of the aircraft producer, Aero Vodochody, just north of Prague. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also participated in the talks.