UAE assured F-35 jets sale will undergo, says ambassador | Enterprise and Economic system Information
Yousef al-Otaiba says the sale was agreed under Trump when the United Arab Emirates established “ongoing” ties with Israel during the Biden government review.
The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Washington is confident that sales of F-35s to his country will continue after a review by the new US administration of some pending arms sales to American allies.
On the final day of former President Donald Trump’s inauguration last month, the UAE signed agreements with the US to purchase up to 50 stealth F-35 fighters, 18 armed drones and other defense equipment worth $ 23 billion.
“We did everything according to the book and you will find that the review will continue after completion and review,” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba told a virtual forum at the Washington Institute on Monday, describing the review as “pro forma”.
Last month, a US State Department official said President Joe Biden’s administration had temporarily suspended some arms sales to US allies in order to investigate.
“Everything is still going on while a review is in progress. I am confident that it will land in the right place, ”said al-Otaiba.
“If you are less present and less engaged in the Middle East, you cannot simultaneously take away tools from your partners that are expected to do more,” he said.
“Dangerous Arms Race”
The United Arab Emirates were promised the chance to acquire the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 aircraft on a sideline basis when they forged ties with Israel in a US-brokered agreement last August.
Rights groups denounced the sale, saying it could fuel regional conflicts, particularly in Libya and Yemen, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia waged a devastating war against the country’s Houthi rebels.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US also criticized the arms transfer, saying it would “facilitate a dangerous arms race.”
In December, however, the Senate rejected attempts to block the transaction, which opponents said it would go ahead without sufficient assurance that the equipment would not fall into the wrong hands or the instability of fuel in the Middle East.