November 28, 2019 / 9:58 AM / 8 days ago

Italy approves second phase of F-35 investment program: minister

FILE PHOTO: Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini smiles during the swearing-in ceremony at Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome, Italy September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ciro de Luca

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will press ahead with an investment program for F-35 fighter jets, Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said, after uncertainty over further orders from the Rome government had raised questions on production plans.

“As the government aims to build on the investments made so far and seize the opportunities offered by the program, I’ve decide to give a green light to the phase two,” Guerini said during a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the co-ruling 5-Star Movement, said last year that F-35 fighter jets were not a priority for the country and that the program had to be reviewed in 2019.

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, editing by Valentina Za

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