The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington said on Tuesday he was confident the sale of F-35 jets to his country would go through after a review by President Joe Biden’s administration, Reuters reports.
“We did everything by the book and they will discover that once the review is complete and it will proceed,” Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba told a virtual Washington Institute forum, describing the review as “pro forma”.
“Everything is still proceeding while undergoing a review at the same time. I am confident it will end up in the right place,” Otaiba added.
“If you are going to have less of a presence and less involvement in the Middle East you can’t at the same time take tools away from your partners who are expected to do more,” he said.
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’s then decided to halt the sale. Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained 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.”
While Prime Minister Binyamin 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.