Iraq, Russia sign arms, oil deals
Moscow, Russian Federation (4E) – Iraq and Russia on Tuesday announced that both countries signed a $4.2 billion arms contract and a $100 million oil production contract.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev jointly announced after a meeting in Moscow that the arms contract was signed months earlier when Iraqi military officials visited Russia. No detail of the contract was given in the joint statement, but reports said the deal involves Iraq’s purchase of 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems.
Iraq also plans to acquire MiG-29 jets, heavy armored vehicles and other weaponry from Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian oil producer LUKoil said Tuesday that the Iraqi government approved a $100 million contract for the company to explore and develop an oil field in southern Iraq. It said the contract will be signed in November.
LUKoil and its partner Japan’s Impex Corp. won the May bidding for the exploration and development of the 2,123-square-mile block 10, 70 miles west of Basra.
LUKoil is also developing Iraq’s giant West Qurna-2 field. The field is considered one of the world’s largest oilfields with an estimated reserves of 12.9 billion barrels of oil. Production of the field is scheduled in 2014.
Maliki, who arrived in Moscow on Monday, will meet President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to discuss the issue on Syria. The two are expected to make a common stance of finding a political and non-violent solution to the civil war in Syria to demonstrate their alliance.
Iraq is not intervening in the civil war wracking its neighbor.