Barak Leaning towards Canceling or at least Postponing Arms Sale to China

Published June 30th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is leaning towards canceling or at least postponing the proposed sale of an airborne Phalcon radar system to China, in light of American protests against the deal, reported the Jerusalem Post newspaper, quoting a senior defense ministry official.  

"By now we fully understand the gravity of the problem and know how much this means to the Americans," he said, adding that a "deep and intensive" dialogue is under way and that he feels there is still time to resolve the crisis.  

He added that no final decision has been made. "Even if we do transfer the first plane, that will only be in a year and a quarter. I am sure we will work it out by then," he said.  

Asked how it was that Barak had allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent, the official told the paper that when the deal had originally been signed, four years ago, there had been less objection from the US. "It has suddenly become the most sensitive issue. It was not like that at first," he said.  

US Ambassador, Martin Indyk, told a subcommittee of the Knesset defense and foreign affairs on Thursday that whether or not Israel goes ahead with the sale, the issue has already harmed bilateral ties, said the paper, quoting a Knesset source - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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