Thursday, 25 May 2017

Bulgarian PM: Whether it is right to purchase new aircraft right now or to look at needs of the Land Forces and Navy

PM Borissov Says It Is a Matter of Calculations to Decide Whether Time Is Right Now to Purchase New Aircraft for Air Force

25 May 2017 / 11:08

Sofia, May 25 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov commended late on Wednesday that it is a matter of calculations to see whether the time is right now to purchase new fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force or to consider instead the needs of the Land Forces and the Navy. Borissov was speaking at a ceremony in which TV Evropa presented him an award for pro-European policy.

Bulgaria has reached an advanced stage in a procedure for purchase of new fighter aircraft for 1.5 billion leva or more in what is to become the largest project for modernization of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. The project funding already has parliamentary approval. Having considered three offers from potential contractors, a working group concluded in April that the Swedish-made Gripen is the favourite option, followed by the offers of the US and Portugal for used F-16 and of Italy for used Eurofighter. The then caretaker government, however, did not make the expected decision to propose to Parliament to start talks with Saab and chose to leave it to their successors in a Parliament-elected government to decide.

Borissov said on Wednesday that a nationally responsible decision needs to be made about how to spend the available resources in order to ensure the best effect. "The [Bulgarian] military aircraft are now flying with refurbished original engines and they can operational until 2028. We have to see whether it is right to purchase new aircraft right now or to look at [the needs of] the Land Forces and the Navy," the Prime Minister said expressing hope that the military experts will best calculate how the resources should be spent.

Borissov also commented the commitment for the NATO member states to set aside 2 per cent of their GDP for defence spending. "To give 2 per cent [for defence], we have to take from somewhere else. As much as we may be thinking about the Armed Forces, we have other priorities as well," he said.

Commenting the Manchester Arena bombing earlier in the week, Borissov called for caution when commenting acts of terrorism "because terrorists would hit anywhere they can be noticed and they pay careful attention to what is being said about them". "The comments should be sparing and the diplomacy very active," he said. He argued that diplomacy owes mankind a lot. "The world community and diplomacy should have ended the wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan long ago," he said. PK/LN/


Source: Sofia

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