US blocks Israel's attempt to sell warplanes to Croatia?

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has rejected Israel's request to "soften" US conditions for the sale of Israeli F-16 warplanes to Croatia.

Source: index.hr
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(EPA, file, illustration)
(EPA, file, illustration)

Croatian website Index is reporting this, citing Barak Ravid's article published by Axios, who said this "practically killed" the USD 500 million arms deal.

Ravid - who was the first to report several weeks ago that US-Israeli talks on this issue had stalled - is now citing a high ranking Israeli official involved in the negotiations.

"In order to give a green light to the deal, the US demanded that Israel remove the Israeli systems installed in the F-16s and return the jets to their original condition before transferring them to Croatia. The Croatians responded that they would cancel the deal if they couldn't get the 'upgraded' Israeli version of the F-16s," Ravid writes.

According to Index, the news has been met with strong reactions, while opposition parties in Croatia are calling for the resignation of Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic.

"The minister is responsible, and then the prime minister. They arranged this deal, now we see that what has been agreed will not be respected. This cannot be presented as the best move of this government. Krsticevic boasted about it, and now we will not get what has been agreed. As MPs and as citizens, we insist on adhering to what has been agreed," the Most party political secretary Nikola Grmoja told RTL.

Earlier, many Croatian media outlets reported that the US Congress had allowed Israeli planes to be sold to Croatia. However, the condition for the sale was that the planes be sold in the condition in which the US delivered them to Israel.

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