US lawmakers to review UAE arms sale

House lawmakers concerned over Biden administration's decision to go ahead with weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates.

Elad Benari ,

Capitol building
Capitol building

Rep. Gregory Meeks, the Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Wednesday that he and other lawmakers were concerned about the Biden administration's decision to go ahead with a weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported.

He added that the lawmakers would review the transactions.

Congressional aides said on Tuesday that Biden's administration has told Congress it is proceeding with a deal to sell more than $23 billion in weapons to the United Arab Emirates, including advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment.

The Trump administration agreed to sell advanced aircraft to the UAE following the signing of the Abraham Accords. The deal was signed in former President Donald Trump’s final day in office.

The Biden administration later decided to halt the sale. Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained at the time that 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.”

"I still have many questions about any decision by the Biden Administration to go forward with the Trump Administration’s proposed transfers of F-35s, armed UAVs (drones), munitions and other weapons," Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks said in a statement quoted by Reuters on Wednesday.

"Fortunately, none of these transfers would occur any time soon, so there will be ample time for Congress to review whether these transfers should go forward and what restrictions and conditions would be imposed," he added.

Rights groups also had concerns about the sale, in light of the UAE's involvement in the war in Yemen, one of the world's greatest humanitarian disasters.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have announced that Israel would not oppose a US sale of advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates, Israel Air Force commander Amikam Norkin indicated recently he was opposed to the sale.