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F-16s sale to Chile

F-16s sale to Chile

A summary of arms sales to Chile:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, February 12, 2001

BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman

Q: Last week, a group of senators sent a letter to President Bush expressing their concern about this sale of F-16s to Chile. I know you will probably tell me it's a White House question, but the White House told me to ask the State Department.

What would be the reaction of this Administration to the letter? And it is the policy of this country to go ahead with the sale of this kind of equipment to South American countries, taking the fact that Brazil has been expressing concerns about this policy, and Argentina promised publicly don't buy planes like the F-16 right now.

MR. BOUCHER: This is, I think, the same question we answered last week. So, if I can remember correctly --

Q: A letter from senators.

MR. BOUCHER: This was a letter from senators that said we ought to sell them used airplanes instead or something like that, right?

Q: Yes, but is it not a concern to create an arms race in --

MR. BOUCHER: Again, the same answer I gave the last time you asked the question. This was a process the Chilean Government went through very carefully. There was a competition in terms of a number of high- performance aircraft that they looked at, and other suppliers besides the United States.

We think that a responsible, democratic government looked at this very carefully, made its decision. We welcome that decision. We certainly want to cooperate with Chile in providing for its legitimate defensive needs. And as I said at the time and will say again, we are not looking to fuel any kind of arms race and we are very careful about how we do these things in terms of replacing aging aircraft so that we don't introduce new levels of capabilities, and you can see that specifically in the question of the AMRAAM missiles that we are not going to ship to the region unless somebody else ships a similar missile. So I do think that's a question that has been dealt with a number of times. I don't have anything new on it.

Q: There is a lot of reports saying that it is the military in Chile who is trying to buy this equipment, not the government of President Lagos. Have you looked about this situation?

MR. BOUCHER: We communicate directly with the Government of Chile. Our Embassy down there is in touch, I am sure, with all aspects of the government. And if this was not a request from the government of Chile, then we wouldn't be talking about it.


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