Monti wants Italy-Israel jet deal done soon

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 08, 2012 1:44 PM
Monti wants Italy-Israel jet deal done soon

ROME (Reuters) - Italy wants to finalize a $1 billion deal for Israel to buy 30 M-346 Master training jets from aerospace and defense group Finmeccanica's Alenia Aermacchi unit as soon as possible, Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Sunday.

Monti, who is on a visit to Israel, made the comment to Italian reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Italian news agencies reported.

"I confirm the government's intention to put the finishing touches on this important contract as soon as possible," he was quoted as saying by the Ansa news agency.

He said the deal would result in a "leap of quality" in industrial relations between Italy and Israel.

Finmeccanica is 32 percent state-owned.

As part of the agreement the Italian government is expected to make $1 billion worth of "offset" purchases from Israel's defense industries, officials said when the deal was announced in February.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Andrew Roche)