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Czechs Seek Direct Talks With Swedish Cabinet on Gripens

The Czech Cabinet wants to negotiate with the Swedish government about conditions for prolonging the lease of Gripen fighter jets, Prime Minister Petr Necas said.

The Czech Republic is seeking better terms than initially proposed by Saab AB, the Swedish maker of Gripen combat jets, to continue leasing the fighter planes.

The country may still decide to hold a tender to secure protection of its airspace if it fails to agree on long-term conditions for leasing the Gripen jets, Necas said after the weekly government meeting in Prague today.

The Czech government in 2004 entered a 10-year lease for 12 single-seat and two dual-seat Gripen fighters. The negotiations are unfolding as Saab seeks to win more orders for the Gripen in the region, including in Croatia and Bulgaria.

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