Bulgarian president vetoes fighter jet deal with the US | News | DW | 23.07.2019
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Bulgarian president vetoes fighter jet deal with the US

President Rumen Radev has expressed doubts about the $1.26 billion agreement. He said there was a lack of clarity on the deal's finances, schedules and guarantees.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Tuesday vetoed a deal to buy eight new F-16 fighter jets from the United States.

Radev, a former air force commander, cited concerns over a lack of clarity, as well as consensus, on the agreement, which would see Bulgaria take delivery of the jets in 2023 and 2024 to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-built MiG-29 fighters.

Read more: Germany, France and Spain sign deal on fighter jet

"Because of the shortened legislative procedure, a number of important issues such as prices, warranties, delivery times, penalties, indemnities, and so on, have remained unclear," the 56-year-old said.

"The commitment of the Republic of Bulgaria to obligations, for years to come, without a national consensus and conviction in the mutually acceptable conditions of the treaty, is extremely worrying," he added.

F-16 fighter jet

The F-16 fighter jets would replace Bulgaria's aging fleet of MiG-29s

Parliament to approve deal

Parliament is expected to overrule Radev's veto and approve the $1.26 billion (€1.13 billion) deal, which would be the country's biggest military acquisition since the end of Communism 30 years ago.

The ruling GERB party said they would vote again on the agreement on Friday.

"We have a consensus that we need to modernize armed forces," Konstantin Popov, chair of parliamentary defense committee, said. "The F-16 is a wonderful airplane."

jsi/amp (AFP, Reuters)

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