Iraq, US close $5 billion arms deal

February 15th, 2009 - 4:51 am ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Feb 15 (Xinhua) The Iraqi government would spend more than $5 billion to buy military equipment, supplies and training from the US through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, the US military said Saturday.

The deal came after five-day talks this week between representatives from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Army Security Assistance Command and Navy International Program Office, and the Iraqi Defense and Interior ministries, a financial management review of the Iraqi FMS program.

Approximately 20 members of the Iraqi Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry took part in the financial review, according to the statement.

The Iraqi Security Forces have already received approximately $1.5 billion of services, vehicles, aircraft parts, small arms, uniforms and training through the FMS program and have made commitments for an additional $3.5 billion in such purchases, the statement quoted U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kimberly Enderle as saying.

The strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq is growing, added Enderle, chief of transportation logistics and accountability for the Security Assistance Office.

With the timetable of US troops withdrawal gets tighter as the Obama administration plans to allocate more troops to Afghanistan, both Iraqi and US governments are eager to enable Iraqi security forces to stand on their own feet as quickly as possible.

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