SOFIA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Bulgarian government decided on Wednesday to ask the country's parliament for permission to start negotiations with the United States administration on buying eight new F-16 fighter jets.
The U.S. warplanes were preferred to other bidders, which included Sweden with Gripen jets and Italy with second-hand Eurofighters, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov told reporters after the government's meeting.
The negotiations have yet to start, so details such as prices and payment conditions were not clear at the moment, Karakachanov said.
"Our idea is to have a contract signed this year," he said.
However, if the conditions offered were not favorable, Bulgaria could start negotiations with one of the other two countries, he said.
"We want to start negotiations first with the United States because the equipment and armaments of the other two aircraft depend on the United States," Karakachanov said.
Bulgaria, a NATO member since 2004, still heavily relies on Soviet-made weapons.