France won’t deliver 12 Rafael fighter jets until Serbia meets certain conditions

The Financial Times reported that Serbia plans to buy 12 French Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation worth € 3 billion, adding that the move marks a long-term commitment to the West and Serbia’s diversification from Russian arms.

Over 90 percent of the deal has already been hammered out, a Serbian defence official told the FT.

“We have relied on Soviet-type technology, and we have some long tails, a need to maintain that equipment,” the official said and added: “Due to geopolitical circumstances now it is not even feasible — even if you wish — to buy from Russia anyway.”

The political magazine notes that ever since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Serbia proved problematic for the EU for refusing to introduce sanctions on Russia. However, they added that the joint EU/US pressure on President Aleksandar Vucic resulted in Serbia’s arms shipments to Ukraine and purchases of Western arms for their own use.

Recently, the FT pointed out, that French President Emmanuel Macron reached out to Vucic and supported his country’s EU accession. The two also discussed Serbia’s role in Europe’s ammunition production. He further hinted that Serbia should recognize Kosovo as part of their rapprochement to the West.

Even as he lauded Vučić, Macron has also signalled he wants Serbia to take further steps towards the west, including by recognising Kosovo’s statehood. “It is important for Serbia to continue to make its European choices concrete, such as by aligning on our decisions on foreign policy.”

Apart from the 12 planes, the deal will include auxiliary systems from the French manufacturer, training and maintenance, the FT added.

(N1, Financial Times, 14.04.2024)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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