Pakistan still waiting for US F-16 jets

Feb. 4, 2005 at 3:31 AM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Department Undersecretary Douglas Feith says Washington is still considering Pakistan's controversial request to buy F-16 fighter aircraft.

Feith was in the military base town of Rawalpindi Thursday for a meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. Defense Consultative Group. He told reporters that the sale of the military jets "continues to remain under consideration," the Pakistan Link Online reported.

Asked what was preventing Washington from delivering the F-16s, Feith would only say, "It is an important issue and it will be dealt with at the right time."

Pakistan asked to buy 40 F-16's in 1990, but the United States refused the sale. Now Islamabad wants 25 jets, at a cost of $25 million each.

India strongly opposes the sale.

Since establishing its alliance with the United States to fight terror, Islamabad has looked to Washington to correct what it calls an imbalance of power with its much larger neighbor, India.

Thursday's meeting dealt with defense cooperation, India-Pakistan relations, the war on terror and the situations in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, officials said.

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