Iraq secures deal for $2.7 billion US military loan

Sunday 26/06/2016
Deal gives Iraq eight-and-a-half years to pay for military purchases

BAGHDAD - Iraq secured a deal Wednesday for a $2.7 billion US loan to finance the buying of ammunition and maintenance of tanks and fighters used in the fight against the Islamic State group.

A US embassy statement said the declaration of intent was signed by Ambassador Stuart Jones and Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The US Foreign Military Finance credit facility will help Iraq "defer payment for the purchase of ammunition and maintenance of its F-16s (jets) and M1A1 (Abrams) tanks," Jones said.

The deal gives Iraq eight-and-a-half years to pay for its military purchases, in what the statement said was part of Washington's efforts to ensure Baghdad's economic difficulties do not affect the fight against ISIS.

Iraq, whose economy is overwhelmingly reliant on oil, is facing a bruising budget crunch caused by the drop in crude prices and the ongoing cost of the war on ISIS.

The United States, which occupied Iraq for eight years, is the lead nation in a coalition providing Iraq with assistance in the form of air strikes, military advising and training.