MESOP NEWS : Italy may begin weapons deliveries to Iraq Kurds by September 10

ROME (Reuters) – 4-9-2014 – Italy should be able to start deliveries of weapons to Kurdish forces by next week, once final arrangements with Iraqi authorities are completed, Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti told parliament on Wednesday.

Along with other European countries, including Germany and France, Italy has agreed to send Kurdish forces a quantity of light weapons to use against Islamic State militants who have swept into northern Iraq.The weapons, including 200 machine guns and 2,000 rocket propelled grenades as well as 950,000 rounds of ammunition will come from both its own surplus military stocks as well as from stocks of Soviet-made weapons confiscated during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Pinotti told a parliamentary committee hearing that logistical preparations were underway and deliveries, worth a total of 1.9 million euros ($2.50 million), could begin by Sept. 10 once the final authorization had been received. She said additional forms of cooperation could be considered including transporting weapons provided by other countries.(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Angus MacSwan