Gates Wants Faster Weapon Deliveries

Thursday, October 4th 2007, 11:30 am
By: News On 6

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The United States must deliver weapons to Iraq more quickly, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday, in the wake of an announcement that the Iraqis have ordered $100 million in military equipment from China.

He agreed that there are concerns that it is harder for the U.S. military in Iraq to track weapons purchased from countries other than America. In many cases, the Iraqis cannot account for weapons, which often end up in the hands of insurgents.

Speaking to reporters, Gates said the issue also came up at his meeting with Chilean Defense Minister Jose Mario Goni just prior to a news conference.

``This is an issue that we have to look into and see what we can do in the United States to be more responsive and be able to react more quickly to the requests of our friends,'' Gates said. ``Unfortunately the (foreign military sales) program was set up in a way that was not intended to provide sort of emergency or short term supplies.''

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in an interview that Iraq ordered the Chinese weapons for its police force in part because the U.S. is not delivering the arms fast enough.