Iraq has postponed plans to buy U.S.-built Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets because it lacks the funds to rebuild its air force, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Bloomberg.
“Iraq is determined to rebuild its air power capabilities, but the plan is postponed … There are no new negotiations by the Iraqi government or the defense ministry,” he said.
The defense portfolio is held by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Tuesday that Iraq has started negotiations to buy U.S. fighter jets.
The Iraqi government was close to signing an agreement on the purchase last year before plans were delayed when funds were diverted for food rations and other urgent items.
“The plan was postponed, but not canceled as we will rebuild our armed forces in the next few years when there will be more liquidity,” the spokesman said.