US moving forward with F-35 stealth fighter jet sales to UAE: State Department official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
F-35 Lightning II pilot US Air Force Captain Kristin "BEO" Wolfe performs the "high-speed pass" maneuver at approximately .95 mach, which is just below the speed of sound, at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US, November 22, 2020. (Reuters photo)

A US State Department official has said the administration of President Joe Biden has planned to move forward with the sale of 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a deal that could be worth $10 billion.

"We continue consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have unmistakeable, clear mutually understanding with respect to Emirati obligations and actions before, during, and after delivery," Mira Resnick a deputy US assistant secretary of state, said on Tuesday, without elaborating on what the obligations were.

The sale of 50 F-35 warplanes to the UAE has slowed amid concerns in Washington over Abu Dhabi's close ties with China, including use of Huawei 5G technology in the country, and due to a declared congressional effort to secure the Israeli regime's alleged military advantage in the Middle East region.

The United States under then-President Donald Trump agreed to sell the warplane after the UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement at the White House in August 2020.

Since then, the Biden administration has been working to advance Abu Dhabi’s longstanding request to buy F-35s.  

Israel initially tried to stop the prospective sale but then ended its opposition after getting so-called US guarantees that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.

Israel said that any deal must satisfy an old agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv that any American weapons sold in the Middle East region must not weaken Israel's "qualitative military edge.”

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process.

Under pressure from Israel and the Israeli lobby in Washington, the US Congress had earlier blocked a plan for such a sale.

The US has sold the warplanes to a range of allies, including South Korea, Japan, and Israel, but experts say sales to the Persian Gulf Arab states require a deeper review due to US policy for Israel to maintain a qualitative military edge in the Middle East.


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