USA and Israel Fail to Agree on Sale of F-16 Fighter Jets to Croatia

By 2 January 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not find a solution for the sale of Israeli F-16 fighter jets to Croatia at their meeting in Brazil on Tuesday, report Večernji List and Jutarnji List on January 2, 2019.

Diplomatic sources close to Israel says that Pompeo and Netanyahu did discuss the topic, but that the agreement was not reached.

Americans remain firm in their position that Israel can only sell to Croatia the original version of the F-16 aircraft, without any upgrades which were added by Israel in the meantime, which is, on the other hand, unacceptable to Croatia.

According to a senior Israeli official, the sale of aircraft to Croatia was the only disagreement Pompeo and Netanyahu did not solve during their meeting. "The matter is stuck in deep bureaucracy,” the Israeli official said.

On December 27, the US State Department sent a letter to Israel with more than ten conditions which need to be met in order for the US government to allow the sale of US-produced aircraft to Croatia. They all boil down to the same - Americans demand that the aircraft, which the Israelis have modernised with 17 modifications, must not have anything on them that is not American.

The deadline for Israel’s final reply expires on Friday, but some saw the meeting between Pompeo and Netanyahu in Brazil, where both of them attended the inauguration of the new Brazilian president, as a possibility for an agreement to be reached. This option does not exist anymore.

It is expected that Croatia will annul its decision to buy the Israeli aircraft and will annul the tender for the purchase of combat aircraft.

The news was first published by the US website Axios, which has extensively covered the issue of the sale of the aircraft to Croatia in recent weeks.

More news on the sale of the aircraft can be found in our Politics section.