21:01 GMT09 August 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Belgium's purchase of US-made F-35 fighter jets for the purposes of re-equipping its air force will be put on hold as a result of the prime minister's recent resignation, a diplomatic source in Brussels told Sputnik on Friday.

    "Although the choice was officially made in favour of F-35s, talks with its manufacturer, US conglomerate Lockheed Martin, have to follow. In fact, the provisional government is not charged to do this. So, the situation becomes precarious to a certain extent," the source said.

    Earlier in the day, Belgian King Philippe accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel after he lost a no-confidence vote following a conflict with his cabinet. He was left in a minority government after the New Flemish Alliance quit the ruling coalition on December 11 because of Michel's approval of the divisive UN compact on migration.

    READ MORE: Airbus, Dassault Slam Belgium's Choice of US F-35 Jets Over Eurofighter Typhoon

    The Belgian government is currently charged with continuing to perform its duties despite the resignation, but it cannot make decisions on important issues, and its activity is currently limited to daily proceedings and emergencies.

    On October 25, Michel officially announced that Brussels would purchase US F-35 Lightning II fighters, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. As of October, Lockheed Martin and UK-based BAE Systems remained the only two participants of the tender for the re-equipment of the Belgian air force.

    The contract on the deliveries of US fighters to Brussels is expected to be signed no later than early 2019.


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    fighter jet, resignation, f-35, Charles Michel, King Philippe, Belgium
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