(AFP) – Aug 8, 2010
WASHINGTON — The United States is considering selling 84 advanced F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia but without long-range weapons systems objected to by Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing unnamed diplomats and officials, the newspaper said the proposed 30-billion-dollar, 10-year package has been under negotiation for months and has generated a lot of tensions.
Israeli officials have been concerned that the administration of President Barack Obama risked undermining Israel's regional military advantage, the report said.
But US officials said they had provided "clarifications" about the deal to help address Israel's concern, the paper said.
Two officials close to the negotiations said Israel still had some reservations, but was not expected to challenge the sale by lobbying Congress, The Journal noted.
Under the proposed sale, the 84 F-15s for Saudi Arabia will have onboard targeting systems similar to those offered to other foreign governments, the paper said.
But to assuage Israel's concerns, the Obama administration has decided not to offer Saudi Arabia so-called standoff systems, which are advanced long-range weapons that can be attached to F-15s for use in offensive operations against land- and sea-based targets, The Journal noted.
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