France, which opposed the Iraq war, is in talks to resume sales of military equipment to Iraq, French and Iraqi officials say, Seattle Times reported.
This means that France, a major global arms vendor and once a key supplier to ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is maneuvering back into a lucrative military market that the United States has dominated since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The officials say French merchandise now on offer includes helicopters and spare parts for weaponry that France sold Iraq back in the 1980s.
It`s not about "replacing the Americans, or rejecting them," Jawad Bashara, spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy in France, said Friday. "Iraq needs to renew its military capacity and needs to have several arms suppliers, not just one state."
Bashara said a delegation headed by Iraq`s air-force chief is expected in France in the next two weeks to finalize a contract for 30 surveillance and rescue helicopters, with an option to buy 20 more.