The newly elected Biden administration has paused the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the reports, the paused arms sales also includes major deal involving F-35 fighter jets for the United Arab Emirates.
The arms sale for the UAE came after it signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel for the first time, but President Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, at his first news conference since he was sworn in Tuesday; said the administration wants to re-examine the deal.
New US Secretary of State said in his first press briefing that US is overviewing the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
He said that, “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.”
Blinken said the hold on arms sales was customary with the beginning of a new administration.
In addition to this he said, “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.”
Back in November 2020, US in a major move on the sale of defense equipment notified Congress of proposed UAE Arms purchases of F-35 fighter aircraft, MQ-9B UAS, and munitions worth $23.37 billion to deter and defend against increased threats.
The then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the US planned to sell top-of-the-line F-35 fighter jets to the UAE as part of a $23.37 billion package.
Pompeo said in a statement that “The UAE’s historic agreement to normalize relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to positively transform the region’s strategic landscape.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the UAE, which is one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long wanted the stealthy jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal when it agreed to normalize relations with Israel.