ZAGREB, January 31, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in the coastal town of Ploče on Thursday that the government was close to completing an analysis into why the planned purchase of F-16 fighter jets from Israel had failed, adding that he believed the parliament, too, would discuss the matter.
The important thing is that this did not do any harm to our relations with the USA or Israel, cooperation in the field of defence with those two countries will continue, and cooperation with Israel will continue in the business sector as well, Plenković said during a visit to the local army barracks.
“The important thing is that our intentions were good, and we will present our impression as to why the deal did not happen during a parliamentary debate,” the prime minister told reporters. “A lot of information is being published. The only relevant thing is that Israel formally undertook to obtain permission for the transfer of the jets to the third party, in this case Croatia. The deal did not happen under the terms that were specified in the tender. We will learn lessons from this case and move on,” Plenković said.
Plenković expressed satisfaction that army troops had been stationed also in Ploče at Defence Minister Damir Krstičević’s proposal. That is good in terms of security and in terms of the army’s contribution to civil institutions in preventing natural disasters, the PM said.
Minister Krstičević, who accompanied Plenković, called for a thorough and responsible analysis of the chronology of the process of preparation and implementation of the purchase of military aircraft from Israel, as well as for clearing up the situation in a calm discussion, using arguments.
“The government tried to resolve the issue. We will analyse the process, an agreement was signed, there is no financial damage. Croatia asked all the necessary questions. You can see various documents being published, proving that we received all the necessary guarantees,” said Krstičević.
“In a process that is very complex, there is no harder thing than buying a multipurpose fighter jet. We will analyse everything regarding the process and have the matter discussed by the parliament. There are a lot of documents, challenges and work to be done,” said the minister.
Krstičević and Plenković visited the barracks of the 116th Croatian Army Brigade in Ploce, which was opened in 2018 and is used by a newly-established Croatian Navy unit, a seaborne company.
More news on the failed fighter jet purchase can be found in the Politics section.