Libya and Iraq continue to show interest in buying Russian-made weaponry despite regime changes in these countries, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
“The Libyan military leadership and the Iraqi government have shown serious interest [in Russian weaponry],” Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, told reporters in Moscow.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, many experts had suggested Russia lost both lucrative arms markets.
Russia reportedly lost around $4 billion in arms sales to Libya in the aftermath of the civil war in 2011. The new Libyan authorities have repeatedly said they were not interested in buying Russian weaponry.
Rogozin said, though, that Libya had a “very specific interest” in defensive weaponry.
“We are certain that the Libyan military leadership trusts this weaponry, which proved to be very reliable,” he said.
“That is why they are interested in restoring military-technical cooperation with Russia, and we welcome it,” Rogozin said, adding Russia would continue insisting on the revival of contracts concluded with the deposed Gaddafi regime.
Rogozin also said that Iraq had shown interest in buying Russian weaponry and equipment for antiterrorism operations.
He said Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi had recently visited Russia and discussed the current state of bilateral military-technical cooperation with the Russian officials.