Iraq has deferred the purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the US due to a lack of funds to concentrate on rebuilding its air force, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has said.

The Iraqi Parliament’s decision to divert funds for fighter jets to social programmes has again delayed the purchase plan, which was revived a few months ago.

Bloomberg quoted the spokesman as saying, “Iraq is determined to rebuild its air power capabilities, but the plan is postponed. There are no new negotiations by the Iraqi government or the defence ministry.

“The plan was postponed, but not cancelled as we will rebuild our armed forces in the next few years when there will be more liquidity,” the spokesman added

Iraq had originally requested for information on pricing and availability of 36 US F-16 aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, in August 2008.