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Parliament tells government to negotiate for F-16 acquisition

Parliament tells government to negotiate for F-16 acquisition

16 January 2019 | 14:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Parliament tasked the government with negotiating with the US for the acquisition of F-16, Focus News Agency reports. The draft decision was backed by 131 to 84 and then by 130 to 84, in a re-vote. In addition to the negotiations, the Parliament told the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft contract with the US government. The draft contract could deviate from the mandatory requirements set out in the updated investment project for a new type of combat aircraft, previously adopted by the Parliament. In its arguments for the decision, the government said that the risks and threats to security impeded further delay in air force modernisation and that the acquisition of a new multi-purpose fighter such as the F-16 would raise air force combat capabilities to a new level.
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Parliament debates government’s proposal to negotiate for F-16 acquisition

Parliament debates government’s proposal to negotiate for F-16 acquisition

16 January 2019 | 12:36 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Parliament debates the government’s proposal to start negotiations with the US for the acquisition of F-16 fighters. Vladimir Toshev, GERB, said Bulgaria would secure a better price through the negotiations and a delivery that would guarantee a future for its air force for the next 40-50 years. Rumen Gechev, BSP, said the decision would be fatal for the air force, as the new fighters would be delivered in 5-6 years and the current aircrafts could not fly beyond the next 1-2 years. He further said the proposal went against the financial framework as well as competitiveness. MRF leader Mustafa Karadayi said the decision was political and strategic and his group would support the proposal. NFSB will vote against the decision, as it will in no way secure the sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace, party leader Valeri Simeonov said during the debate. Veselin Mareshki, Volya, said his party did not support the spending of Bulgarian money and would initiate a referendum on F-16.
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Defence minister: We propose to parliament to task the government with negotiating with US to buy a new type of fighter

Defence minister: We propose to parliament to task the government with negotiating with US to buy a new type of fighter

9 January 2019 | 12:57 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The government proposes that it should prepare a draft contract and negotiations with the US government to acquire a new type of combat aircraft, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov told a briefing, Focus News Agency reports. “At the meeting today we discussed the report about the acquisition of the new combat aircraft. The Council of Ministers took the following decision: it proposes to the Parliament to consider and accept the report, instruct the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft for international contract and negotiations with the US government for the acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft, as well as to oblige the prime minister to monitor the organisation of the negotiations as the international contract is drafted,” Karakachanov said. The negotiation team will include the economy, defence and foreign affairs ministers. Karakachanov said the government’s proposal was already clear on December 21. “I very clearly said that we were negotiating with the US, which led to many speculations that the Council of Ministers had decided to sign a contract. We have assurances from the White House that the price will be adjusted,” he added. He said the alternative was to restart the project from the very beginning and delay the contracting process by at least a year and a half. He said it was not in the interest of Bulgarian Air Force.
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Defence minister: Bulgaria should make a good choice, buy a powerful fighter, the rest is petty politics

Defence minister: Bulgaria should make a good choice, buy a powerful fighter, the rest is petty politics

8 January 2019 | 16:00 | FOCUS News Agency
Plovdiv. The Ministry of Finance’s assessment for the acquisition of a new combat aircraft should be ready today and placed on the Council of Ministers’ agenda tomorrow, Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov told reporters in Voyvodinovo, Focus Radio has reported. “The important thing is to make a good choice and buy a powerful fighter for our Air Force. All the rest is petty politics,” the minister said in response to comments on the deal. He said the debate should focus on the army’s needs, rather than which country would supply the fighter. “We are buying a plane for the next 30-40 years, not playing politics,” Karakachanov said.
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Angel Naydenov, Centre for Research of Defence and Security: The problems of the Bulgarian army require integrated solutions

Angel Naydenov, Centre for Research of Defence and Security: The problems of the Bulgarian army require integrated solutions

7 January 2019 | 11:58 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The problems of the Bulgarian army – under-funding, obsolete equipment and staff shortage – require a package of solutions rather than individual steps. This is what Angel Naydenov, chairman of the Centre for Research of Defence and Security and former defence minister, told Focus Radio. He said the attempts to make remuneration in defence competitive on the labour market were not enough. “The staff shortage, about 5,700 people, definitely makes it difficult for the army to live up to its functions and responsibilities. I think the basis for calculating the remuneration should equate to the minimum wage. That basis is currently BGN 380, while the minimum wage is BGN 560. In the budget for 2019 there is over BGN 80 million to increase the remuneration for Bulgarian servicemen. At the beginning of this year, we expect to see the 10% increase that applies to everyone within the state budget sphere, and this will, to some extent, lead to such an increase. Additionally, a new model of wage formation is pending, based on the rank and the respective position, which will also have an impact on the wages,” said Angel Naydenov. A cardinal solution requires a comprehensive package of social measures, he added. Regarding cyber security, the former defence minister said Bulgaria had long taken steps in that direction and had good experts and preparation, both within the working group at the Ministry of Defence and in other institutions related to security.
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