PM rules out any damage for Croatia over Israeli F-16 deal

Photo /Vijesti/2019/01 Siječanj/10 siječnja/DSC_7487.JPG

There is no damage for Croatia regarding delays in the delivery of F-16 fighter jets from Israel, as no purchase contract has been signed, and the government can cancel the decision on the procurement of the planes if the project cannot be implemented, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in Zagreb on Thursday morning.

"No purchase agreement has been signed, so there is no damage for Croatia," Plenkovic said.

If the project cannot be carried out as planned, the government will cancel its decision of 29 March, Plenkovic said underscoring Croatia's good will in the whole process.

On 29 March 2018, the Croatian government unanimously adopted a decision on the procurement of 12 Israeli F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets for an estimated HRK 2.9 billion payable over a ten year period.

The Israeli bid included the delivery of 12 upgraded used Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft for about 420 million euros. The aircraft are between 25 and 30 years old and are to replace the outdated MiG-21 aircraft used by the Croatian Air Force.

An Israeli delegation is expected in Zagreb on Thursday to formally notify Croatia about developments following the US objection to the sale of modified Israeli F-16 fighter jets to Croatia. The Israeli-US dispute has to do with who owns the technology and intellectual property rights.

Krsticevic: Israel was supposed to get approval from US

Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic reiterated on Thursday morning that it was up to the Israelis to get the green-light from Washington for the modifications made on the planes.

"It was their responsibility. They obtained preliminary approval and now they should obtain final approval for the sale of F-16 jets to Croatia. I want to hear whether they can do that and if they can't, why," Krsticevic said before the government meeting.

Text: Hina