BELGRADE, Serbia, June 3 (UPI) -- A state-run weapons manufacturer in Serbia said Tuesday an initial shipment of $600,000 worth of handguns slated for delivery to Iraq is ahead of schedule.
Zastava Weapons Co. chief Rade Gromovic said his company originally planned to send around 15,000 Serbian-manufactured CZ 99 pistols to Iraq by July, but initial shipments were moved up to June 11, BalkanInsight.com reported.
The first delivery is part of a larger shipment totaling $5 million, the report said.
The majority of the initial shipment consists of standard-issue 9mm CZ 99 pistols, though a portion of the shipment includes luxury models that will serve as diplomatic gifts for foreign officials.
Serbia and Iraq developed stronger bilateral trade relations, notably in the weapons area, since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
An April feature in The New York Times said Iraqi government officials secretly negotiated an $833 million deal with Serbia for what U.S. officials later claimed was "shoddy" military equipment, including helicopters and armored personnel carriers.