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UAE responds to Biden administration's freeze of F-35 deal

Two US-made Israeli F-35 “Adirs” fly in formation, and display the US and Israeli flags, en route to Israel for their delivery on December 6, 2016 [U.S. Air Force/Wikipedia]
Two US-made Israeli F-35 fly in formation, displaying the US and Israeli flags on 6 December 2016 [U.S. Air Force/Wikipedia]

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba considers that the announcement made by US President Joe Biden's administration regarding halting arms sales to the Emirates and Saudi Arabia was to be expected.

This came in a statement published by the UAE embassy in the US, on Wednesday, in which Al-Otaiba stated: "The UAE will work closely with the Biden administration on a comprehensive approach to peace and stability in the Middle East."

He added: "As in previous transitional stages, the UAE expected a review of current policies by the new US administration, specifically the F-35 (combat aircraft) package, which is much more than just selling military equipment to a partner."

READ: Biden suspends arms deals to Saudi Arabia, UAE

The UAE diplomat pointed out that the purchased weapons would play a "deterrent role", adding: "Like the United States, arms allow the UAE to maintain a strong deterrent strategy against aggressions in parallel with the new dialogue and security cooperation, as it helps to reassure regional partners."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has confirmed that the ministry is reviewing suspended arms sales after the new administration announced that it would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This is due to the ministry conducting a broader review of the agreements worth billions of dollars concluded by the Donald Trump administration.

Blinken confirmed that the review aims to: "Make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives, and advances our foreign policy."

Last week, Reuters reported that Trump signed an agreement to sell advanced fighter aircraft to Abu Dhabi, hours before Biden's inauguration on 20 January.

READ: UAE confirms it inked $23bn deal to buy F-35 jets, drones from US

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