Serbian arms exporter rejects U.S. claims on Iraq deal
( Xinhua ) - Serbia's state-run arms exporter rejected on Sunday the claims by New York Times that the Iraqi government secretly arranged to buy unsatisfactory arms from Serbia.
"All Iraqi officials were acquainted with all the contracts that have been concluded with us," said Stevan Nikcevic, general director of the public company Jugoimport-SDPR, quoted by the official Tanjug news agency.
Nikcevic said that the New York Times article was full of false details regarding the contract the Serbian company had concluded with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
According to the report by the U.S. paper on Saturday, the deal, which was signed without the knowledge of senior Iraqi leaders, was previously worth 833 million U.S. dollars but was later reduced in size to 236 million dollars. Furthermore, U.S. military officials claimed that much of the Serbian equipment was of poor quality or not appropriate to the needs of the Iraqi military.
"These contracts were confirmed several times, according to our information, by the Iraqi authorities," Nikcevic said, adding that the 833 million dollar figure was never negotiated with Iraqi officials.
Nikcevic said that someone was not satisfied with the quality of the delivered equipment was also not true, because the delivery of the equipment has not even begun.
In late March, the Serbian Defense Ministry said that it has sealed "a deal of the century" for Serbian weapons' factories with Iraq. The deal, which was worth some 236 million dollars, will include 20 light training aircraft, pistols, assault rifles, mortars, ammunition, explosives and bulletproof vests.