Blinken says US will move ahead with F-35 sale to UAE

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Wednesday the United States is ready move ahead with the sale of F-35 plane and different weaponry to the United Arab Emirates after studies emerged that the rich Gulf nation had suspended negotiations on the deal. 

The arms deal, which emerged within the waning days of the Trump administration, would make the UAE the primary Arab nation to acquire Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the world’s most superior fighter plane. The $23 billion bundle, which additionally consists of Reaper drones and precision munitions, was positioned beneath evaluate by the Biden administration in January. 

Speaking to reporters throughout a visit to Malaysia, Blinken mentioned the United States is “prepared to move forward … if that is what the Emiratis are interested in doing.”

Blinken’s feedback got here a day after the UAE’s embassy in Washington confirmed it had suspended discussions over the deliberate upgrades to its superior protection capabilities.

“The US remains the UAE’s preferred provider for advanced defense requirements, and discussions for the F-35 may be reopened in the future,” learn an embassy assertion. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Tuesday that Abu Dhabi was threatening to scuttle the deal due to strict safety restrictions imposed by Washington to safeguard the fifth-generation fighter jets from Chinese espionage. Blinken declined to elaborate on the circumstances when requested by reporters on Wednesday. 

“We wanted to make sure that we could do a full review of any technologies that are sold or transferred to other partners in the region, including the UAE,” the secretary mentioned, including that it was necessary Israel’s “qualitative military edge” within the area is maintained. 

The Israeli authorities, which normalized relations with the UAE as a part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, mentioned it doesn’t oppose the F-35 deal. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan on Monday, their first such assembly since Israel and the UAE normalized relations. 

Last month, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security Mira Resnick mentioned the United States deliberate to move forward with the sale, which she known as “a game-changing opportunity for the UAE and for our partnership.”

The UAE has described the sale as one that might improve its skill to counter evolving regional threats, however critics mentioned the superior weaponry may additional gasoline regional conflicts, together with in Yemen and Libya. 

The F-35 sale is prone to be on the agenda when an Emirati delegation visits Washington this week for US-UAE protection dialogues. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby informed reporters that the conferences starting Wednesday will cowl the “broad scope of our defense relationship” and are not designed to deal with the F-35s. 

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