Emergency debate on Joint Strike Fighter

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A request by the Green Left party in the Dutch parliament for an emergency debate has been granted following the release of US cables revealing comments by the Ministry of Defense regarding the purchase of Joint Strike Fighter planes.

The cables sent by the US embassy in The Hague in 2007 were uncovered by Wikileaks and passed onto Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad.

The newspaper says the United States was better informed on the government's position with regard to the project than parliament. For instance in 2007, the US was aware that the ministry did not have enough money to buy all 85 planes wanted by the armed forces to replace Dutch F-16 fighter planes.

In parliament the minister has always said the government intends to purchase all 85 planes. The conservative VVD did not support the motion for an emergency debate saying parliament was poorly informed by the newspaper.

The minister recently revealed for the first time that the cost of a single plane was 60 million euros. The whole project is costing 1.4 billion euros on top of the original estimate of 6.2 billion euros. The current government says it plans to purchase two test planes.  


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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