Bulgaria’s MPs approve govt plan to open talks with US on F-16 jet deal

Bulgaria’s parliament has approved a government plan to open talks with the United States on a deal for eight new F-16 fighter jets. They would replace the country’s aging Russian MiG-29s and bring its air force in line with NATO standards, AP reported. The plan was approved on Wednesday in a 130-84 vote after a long and heated debate. Supporters called it a strategic choice for the country, while opponents voiced fears that the jets would be too expensive. The center-right government preferred the offer for F-16s over Sweden’s bid for new Gripens, and Italy’s offer for second-hand Eurofighters. Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said that the F-16 fighter jets do not need additional agreements for supplies of the necessary weaponry.