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NATO member Romania cancels $1.83bn Dutch warship purchase over political dispute

Iran Press TV

Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:33AM

Romania's defense ministry has cancelled a $1.83 billion deal for purchase of four Dutch warships after a dispute over which bid best suits the NATO member's interests.

The ministry announced on Friday that it had informed military prosecutors there were "reasonable suspicions" regarding the legitimacy of the procedure for the military acquisition, noting that it could damage the country's national security, AP reported.

The Romanian government did not elaborate on the circumstance of suspending the military purchase in its late Friday announcement, which came a day before the winner was scheduled to be declared.

According to local press reports, the procurement of four multi-task corvette vessels has led to political tensions with Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party, which favored an offer from Dutch ship maker, the Damen Group.

Romania's Army Chief of Staff Nicolae Ciuca, however, considered the military contract too expensive amid reports that France's Naval Group offered a better deal for the warships.

This is while the NATO member has committed to upgrading its military forces and equipment within the next decade under intense pressure from Washington, which has threatened to quit the alliance unless its European members took measures to make greater contributions through a more rigorous military buildup across the board.

The development came after Croatia, another east European NATO member, cancelled the purchase of 12 used F-16 jet fighters from the Israeli regime on Thursday following US refusal to approve the third-party sale.

"Israel has officially informed us that it cannot get an approval from the United States for delivery of the planes to Croatia," Croatia's Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic announced in a Thursday press conference in the capital Zagreb following a meeting with a visiting Israeli delegation.

According to Croatian media reports, the problem came up because the war planes had been refitted with Israeli technology, depriving American weapons makers the opportunity to update and service the decades-old fighter jets.

The US reportedly insisted that the Israeli regime must strip the jets of the upgrades it had made -- including electronic and radar systems – prior to transferring the aircraft.



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