Croatia is denying a report that says United States is blocking Israel’s sale of aging F-16 fighter jets to Zagreb.
Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic confirmed that the United States gave permission to Israel to offer Croatia 12 F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets.
“The US government has given permission to the State of Israel to offer the Israeli F-16 to Croatia and we have a document to that effect,” Krsticevic was quoted as saying by the Total Croatia news website.
On Friday, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the Trump administration was blocking the $500 million deal that would have seen Israel sell 12 aging F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets to Croatia.
Also according to Channel 10, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the blocking deal with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week in Brussels. Pompeo reportedly said US Secretary of Defense James Mattis was the one blocking the deal.
Washington accused Jerusalem of selling the F-16 fighter jets equipped with new and sophisticated Israeli made electronic systems, so as to give at an edge compared to US made fighter jets.