Biden Freezes F-35 Sale to UAE, Munitions Sales to Saudi Arabia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his confirmation hearings last week that the Biden administration would ‘take a hard look’ at the UAE F-35 sale

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration has reportedly temporarily frozen U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as it reviews billions of dollars in weapons transactions approved by the Trump administration.

According to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, citing U.S. officials, the United States is specifically reviewing the sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets to the UAE and munitions to Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his confirmation hearings last week that the Biden administration would “take a hard look” at the UAE sale.

On Wednesday, Blinken clarified that it was not uncommon “at the start of an administration to review any pending sales to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy.”

Newly confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken removes his face mask to speak during a welcome ceremony at the State Department, Washington, January 27, 2021.
Carlos Barria,AP

UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba also sought to reassure, saying in response that his country would work closely with the Biden administration on Middle East peace and stability, noting “the UAE anticipated a review of current policies.”

“The F-35 package is much more than selling military hardware to a partner,” he added.

Blinken reiterated his praise of the Abraham Accords, noting that he hopes there is an opportunity to build on them in the months and years ahead, while also trying to ensure the U.S. has “a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements.”

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