U.S. approves $23.37 billion advanced arms sale to UAE: Pompeo

An F-35 pilot prepares for takeoff from the Vermont Air National Guard Base with the flag of the United States, before a flyover in South Burlington, Vermont, U.S. May 22, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the Trump administration had approved the sale of more than $23 billion in advanced weapons system, including F-35 fighter jets and armed drones, to the UAE.

The U.S. State Department sent a formal notice to Congress on the sale of the stealth precision planes, long sought by the Gulf Arab ally which won a green light after agreeing in September to recognize Israel, AFP reported.

“This is in recognition of our deepening relationship and the UAE’s need for advanced defense capabilities to deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The $23.37 billion package includes up to 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, the statement department said.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees – whose members have criticized UAE’s role in civilian deaths in Yemen’s civil war – review major weapons sales before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.

Any deal the United States makes to sell weapons in the Middle East must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that it must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over its neighbors.

The UAE, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long wanted the stealthy jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal when it agreed to normalize relations with Israel, part of a strategic regional realignment against Iran.

The $2.97 billion sale of armed drones would mark the first such export since the Trump administration reinterpreted a Cold War-era arms agreement between 34 nations to allow U.S. defense contractors to sell more drones to allies.

Previous Article

Oil prices rise on declining U.S. crude stocks, hopes for COVID-19 vaccine

Next Article

29 people including Iraqis wounded in bus crash in Turkey – report

Related Posts