US Ambassador to Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein, said on Thursday that Romanian President Traian Basescu discussed the possibility of Romania acquiring F-16 fighter planes during his visit to Washington earlier this week. The main contact on the issue was the one with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the major news is that there was a working plan in this regard involving Croatia and Bulgaria.
Gitenstein said the plan, which would involve joint acquisitions by Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, was not finalized.
He said there was a regional effort which would reduce the costs of the project and that it might not be about used planes.
While in the summer of 2010 the Romanian Government suspended any plan to acquire 24 used F-16 fighter planes, Ambassador Gitenstein said in October last year that the talks could be renewed within months.
Speaking of the signing of a deal on the US missile shield by Romanian and US authorities during Basescu's recent trip to Washington, Ambassador Gitenstein also said on Thursday that it was a historical event. He said there was nothing secret about the Romanian-US deal and that he supported Basescu's prior statement that the document should be made public.