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AFP
January 28, 2021

US ‘pauses’ defence sales to UAE, Saudi Arabia

Top Story

AFP
January 28, 2021

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden´s administration has temporarily frozen for review a massive package of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates and arms to Saudi Arabia, officials said Wednesday.

The nearly week-old administration has already signaled it plans to end support for the Saudi-led, UAE-backed offensive in Yemen.

A State Department spokesperson said the administration is "temporarily pausing the implementation" of a number of defense sales "to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review."

"This is a routine administrative action typical to most any transition, and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance,” the spokesperson said. The move is also aimed at “ensuring US arms sales meet our strategic objectives of building stronger, interoperable and more capable security partners.” The most high-profile sale is a $23 billion package of top-of-the-line F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates. Former president Donald Trump´s administration agreed to the sale — the first of the stealth-capable planes to an Arab nation — after the United Arab Emirates agreed to recognise Israel. A potential halt to the sale could raise questions about whether the United Arab Emirates will continue its normalisation with Israel, which Trump saw as a key foreign policy achievement.