November 13, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The defense minister of the United Arab Emirates said on Sunday price considerations were still holding up the signing of a deal for the purchase of 80 F-16 fighter planes worth $7 billion from the United States.
But the minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, told reporters on the sidelines of the Dubai's International Aerospace Show (Dubai 2000) that the deal might still be signed during the exhibition, which ends on Thursday.
The deal was originally expected to be completed at the end of last year. But it was delayed by a row over U.S. refusal to hand over source codes and master keys for weapons systems.
sources said in May that the United States had agreed to the UAE demands and expected the deal to be sealed before the end of the year. U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said while in the UAE in October that technical aspects of the deal had been resolved, although financing was still being discussed.