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Iraq reconsiders $4 billion Russian arms plans

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say the government is reconsidering plans to buy more than $4 billion in arms from Russia.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last month traveled to Moscow and outlined plans to buy the weapons, including helicopter gunships and air defense missiles.

Some Iraqi media reports, such as one that aired this week on the private al-Sharqiya TV channel, have suggested impropriety such as kickbacks by some of those involved in brokering the deal. They cite mostly unnamed sources and provide few specifics.

The prime minister's spokesman, Ali al-Moussawi, said Saturday the proposed deal is now under review.

Iraq's acting defense minister, Saadoun al-Dulaimi, insisted no money has changed hands so far and says the existing proposal "has become meaningless." He says the government plans to renegotiate the deal, seeking better terms.


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