PARIS (AP) -- European aerospace group EADS said Monday it is committed to its delayed and troubled A400M military transport aircraft program, but that the original contract needed to be renegotiated.
EADS, the parent company of European jet maker Airbus, said in a statement it "remains fully committed to the construction" of the four-engine turboprops meant to replace aging fleets of Hercules and Transall military transporters.
The company said it was responding to "clarify" comments made in the press. Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders was quoted in an interview with German web site Spiegel Online saying "Under the current conditions we cannot build the aircraft."
"Better an end with horror than a horror without end," Enders said in the interview.
In its statement, EADS said the original contract's timetable and commercial conditions don't "provide the necessary conditions for the successful development of the program."
The company said it wants to use a three-month standstill agreed with the seven NATO countries that are behind the A400M -- France, Germany, Spain, Britain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg -- to renegotiate "conditions acceptable by all parties."
In Berlin, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said, "I can only hope and wish that it (the project) can be realized sensibly, though I must say that we of course have significant problems with these delays."
Jung noted that the three-month "stand-still" on the orders would give EADS and Airbus time to work out a new delivery schedule.
"The hope is that, if possible, we get clarity in April, but as I said we agreed on these three months," Jung told reporters.
"We need transparency, we need clear definitions of when and in what configuration the A400M can be realized, and after that we can make decisions."