The administration of US President Joe Biden has told Congress it is proceeding with more than $23bn in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, including advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment, congressional aides said on Tuesday.
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 Democratic president’s administration had paused the deals agreed to by former Republican President Donald Trump in order to review them. The sales to the Gulf nation were finalised right before Trump left office.
The Trump administration told Congress in November it had approved the sale to the UAE as a side deal to the Abraham Accords, an agreement brokered by the United States in September in which the UAE agreed to normalise relations with Israel.
In the last months of the Trump administration, Israel reached deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco as part of the accords.
The $23.37 billion package contained products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, 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.
The Biden administration announced the review in late January and the UAE said then it had anticipated the review and welcomed joint efforts to de-escalate tensions and for renewed regional dialogue.
The State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday the estimated delivery dates on the UAE sales, if implemented, were for after 2025 or later.
The government anticipated “a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE” to ensure a stronger security partnership, the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
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