F-35 stealth fighter
F-35 stealth fighter iStock

US President Joe 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, congressional aides said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

A State Department spokesperson said the administration would move forward with the proposed sales to the UAE, "even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials" related to the use of the weapons.

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.”

The $23.37 billion package contained products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp, including 50 F-35 Lighting II aircraft, up to 18 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Systems and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

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.