Doors open for negotiation with US on F-16 deal: Pakistan

Islamabad, June 30 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday hinted that negotiations on the funding of F-16 fighter jets for Islamabad may still be possible with Washington.

“US Senator John McCain will be visiting Pakistan soon to meet the top leadership,” Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.

The F-16 deal was earlier put on hold after the US asked Pakistan to foot the bill for the jets. Under an initial financing arrangement, the US was to pay about $430 million for the eight jets worth $699 million from Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds, while the remaining cost was to be borne by Pakistan itself.

Islamabad rejected the idea of fully paying for the aircraft and refused to make any pledge unless the restriction on financing through FMF was lifted.

The Pakistani government was required to provide the Letter of Acceptance for purchase of the jets by May 24, but a diplomatic source revealed that the document was not issued, leading to expiry of the offer.

–IANS

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