US ready to proceed with F-35 sales to UAE
Following the UAE threat of suspending the sale of US F-35 fighters, which it had concluded during the Trump era, Washington expresses its readiness to move forward with the deal.
On Wednesday, the US expressed its readiness to move forward with the sale of F-35 fighters and Reaper MQ-9B drones to the UAE. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed two conditions for completing the deal during a press conference with his Malaysian counterpart in Kuala Lumpur, according to US network CNN.
Blinken stated: "We've wanted to make sure, for example, that our commitment to Israel's qualitative military edge is assured, so we wanted to make sure that we could do a thorough review of any technologies that are sold or transferred to other partners in the region, including the UAE."
A UAE official told Reuters on Tuesday that the Emirates has informed the United States that it will cease discussions to purchase the F-35, citing technical needs, sovereign operating restrictions, and cost/benefit analyses.
According to the official, talks may be reopened in the future, and there are plans to address mutual defense security criteria for the acquisition.
UAE threatened to pull f-35, drone deal with the US
US Media outlets said, on Tuesday, that the UAE threatens to pull out of a $23 billion deal to buy US-made F-35 aircraft, MQ-9B Reaper drones, and other advanced munitions.
The Wall Street Journal reported citing US officials that the UAE has also threatened to pull out of Reaper drones and other advanced munitions deals.
“The Emirati government told US officials that it intended to halt the deal because Abu Dhabi thought security requirements the US had laid out to safeguard the high-tech weaponry from Chinese espionage were too onerous, and the country’s national sovereignty was in jeopardy”, according to WSJ.
The newspaper hinted that the Emirati threat is a bargaining tactic on the eve of a high-level UAE military delegation's planned visit to the Pentagon for two days of talks on Wednesday.
Steps leading to the deal
The US State Department said last March that the US administration intends to move forward with the sale of jets to the UAE even as they continue to review the details and consult with Emirati officials regarding the use of the weapon platforms.
The US, under former President Donald Trump, approved selling the fighter jets after the UAE normalized its relations with "Israel" last year.
"Israel" initially rejected the anticipated sale agreement, but it ceased opposing it after obtaining what it said were US guarantees that "Israel" would maintain its military superiority.