Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra welcomes Iraqi delegation led by Defence Minister of the Republic of Iraq Sadoon Al-Dulaim on 23 January 2012.
The talks focused on further billateral cooperation in the field of defence and current situation in the region of the Near East.
Minister Vondra at the press conference emphasized that even though the Czech Republic and the Republic of Iraq are geographically distant, both countries are connected by eighty-year long intensive diplomatic relations which are to be followed. “We laid foundations of future cooperation during a trip of (Czech) Prime Minister Petr Necas to Badgad last May and today we could elaborate upon specific possibilities of mutually advantageous cooperation. Simply said, it consists of three areas – aircraft, modernisation of the Iraqi military and education,” Minister Vondra said.
“There is a wide range of possibilities in military cooperation, it is not about aircraft only. The potential of the Czech Republic is really considerable and we are highly interested in cooperation with the Czech military,” Minister Sadoon Al-Dulaimi said.
The media were interested mainly in the sale of subsonic L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft to the Republic of Iraq.
“It has been a years-long marathon and I hope that this day has again brought us closer to the finish. The Iraqi Defence Minister did assure me that the Republic of Iraq is still interested in this type of aircraft,” Vondra said, adding that besides the L-159s he offered support with training of ground and flying personnel, capabilities of VOP Sternberk, education of Iraqi students at the University of Defence in Brno and experience in the field of protection against mass destruction weapons, and demining capabilities as well.