US President Joe Biden administration is reviewing the sale of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The review puts a temporary hold on the implementation of the estimated $23bn sale of 50 F-35A fighters, 18 MQ-9B drones, and various munitions.
The deal was promised as part of the Abraham Accords by the previous US administration.
Speaking at a press conference at the State Department, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “First, as we’ve said, we very much support the Abraham Accords.
“We think that Israel normalising relations with its neighbours and other countries in the region is a very positive development, and so we applauded them, and we hope that there may be an opportunity to build on them in the months and years ahead.
“We’re also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements, and that’s something we’re looking at right now.
“Generally speaking when it comes to arms sales, it is typical at the start of an administration to review any pending sales, to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy. So that’s what we’re doing at this moment.”
Reacting to the latest development, UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba said: “The UAE will work closely with the Biden administration on a comprehensive approach to Middle East peace and stability.”
The review also temporarily suspends US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.