Croatian Defence Ministry Explains Away US Embassy E-Mails

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ZAGREB, January 16, 2019 – The Defence Ministry on Tuesday commented on emails sent to it by the US Embassy, saying that over a thousand were exchanged officially and unofficially during the procurement of fighter jets, but that the only important thing was that the US did not prohibit the sale of Israeli aircraft to Croatia in any official document.

Hina asked the ministry for a comment after the publication of the second email in the correspondence between the embassy and Assistant Defence Minister Petar Mihatov, in which the embassy sent Croatia a non-paper concerning the procurement of used F-16s.

“During the procurement procedure, there was a lot of official and unofficial communication as well as many elements and questions we resolved in agreement with our partners because it was a very complex project. In such a complex process, over a thousand emails were exchanged, there was very demanding correspondence at several levels. Because of responsibility, we held a series of additional consultations both with the American and the Israeli side,” the ministry said.

However, the only important thing is what all the official documents say, that Israel, as the selected bidder, had the obligation to obtain US approval, to which it officially committed when the offer was accepted by enclosing preliminary approval, the ministry said.

The only essential thing is that the US did not prohibit the sale of Israeli aircraft to Croatia in any official document, but gave the official preliminary approval that was required for the validity of Israel’s offer, the ministry said.

“As you know, Israel officially informed us that, contrary to the responsibility it assumed, unfortunately, it cannot obtain the required US approval for the delivery of Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft to Croatia. Israel’s representatives said in Zagreb clearly that there was no responsibility on Croatia’s part. There is no material or non-material damage for Croatia,” the ministry said.

Media have published two emails which the US Embassy exchanged with Mihatov, informing him that Israel did not obtain US permission for selling fighter jets and that it might not be granted at all.

More news on the unsuccessful acquisition of the fighter jets can be found in the Politics section.


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