<i>Financial Times</i>: Iraq-Ukraine defense-technology ties re-emerging
Iraq is stepping up contact with Ukraine in a bid to obtain weapons technology, a British daily said Tuesday, quoting arms control experts.
"For some years there was an intensive defense-technology relationship between Ukraine and Iraq. This appears to be re-emerging," Timothy McCarthy, a former United Nations weapons inspector, told The Financial Times, according to AFP.
The paper said it had heard recordings of an apparent conversation between Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Yuri Alexeyev, director of Yuzhmash, Ukraine's largest rocket maker, in which they mention Iraq, Iran and rockets.
"We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past," McCarthy told the paper, which has launched a three-day investigation into what it calls "a dangerous lack of control over weapons of mass destruction and their availability."
Baghdad has "nurtured contacts" with Kuchma's government, the Financial Times reported, citing the appointment of Yuri Orshansky as an honorary consul in Ukraine - a move accepted by the former Soviet republic in November 2000.
The United States has said it has no proof that Ukraine sold arms or high-tech military equipment to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime.
"You can be assured that if we find any proliferation of weapons to Iraq from any country, we will take appropriate action," the United States State Department warned in April. (Albawaba.com)
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