Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Comments on Croatian Fighter Jet Sale

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The sale of Israeli military aeroplanes to Croatia has been one of the main topics in the media for the last ten days. Croatia has decided to buy 12 F-16 Barak aircraft from Israel. However, since aircraft were produced in the United States, the sale demands US permission, which is where it gets complicated. The planes were built in the 1980s, and the Israelis have done many changes in the meantime. The question is whether the US will allow such a sale to proceed. On the other hand, Croatia has said it only wanted Israeli aircraft F-16 Barak, meaning the modified planes. The deal is in question, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has now commented on it, reports on December 17, 2018.

He said it was too early to say anything, as reported by Barak Ravid, an Israeli journalist who about ten days ago first published the news about the US decision not to allow the sale.

“There are negotiations between the countries, and I am personally involved. It is too early to make a statement. We are working on this,” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, referring to the negotiations between Israel and the United States. Netanyahu allegedly talked about this problem with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović last week.

In the meantime, President Grabar-Kitatović told the media that Croatia had to get the planes it ordered. “We considered absolutely all aspects and all the offers, based on the recommendations of the expert committee that has dealt with it and said that the Israeli bid was the best,” the president said. “We have accepted that opinion and have recommended to the government to proceed with the job. Of course, the final decision is up to the government. It is important to emphasise that the aeroplanes we have agreed on must be the ones delivered to Croatia,” concluded Grabar-Kitarović.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević defended the deal last week and told reporters that Croatia, as an ally and a friend of the United States and Israel, would wait as long as needed for them to agree. “You know there was a public tender. Croatia must receive the planes which it ordered. The experts defined what kind of planes we need to ensure that Croatia can protect peace and security, and the state of Israel has given its offer,” said Krstičević.

He did not want to say whether Israel had deceived Croatia if Croatian negotiators were not told that Israel did not have a US sales permission. “The process is underway, we will see,” he said.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Israel can be found in our Politics section.

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