US President Joe Biden on Wednesday 'temporarily paused' the sale of F-35 stealth fighter planes to the UAE in order to re-evaluate the decision made by the previous administration under ex-President Donald Trump.
The Jerusalem Post cited a US State Department official who said that the Biden administration has "temporarily paused" for review of several pending arms sales to US allies, amounting to billions of dollars.
The sale of F-35s was promised as part of the Abraham Accords by the Trump administration. It also included precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. As of now, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has the F-35 fighter jet.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, addressed the decision to review the F-35 sale to the UAE. Speaking at a press conference at the State Department, Blinken said that when it comes to arms sales, "it is typical 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, so that's what we're doing at this moment."
"We very much support the Abraham Accords, we think that Israel normalizing relations with its neighbours and other countries in the region is a very positive development and so, we applaud them, and we hope that there may be an opportunity to build on it in the months and years ahead," Blinken added.
"We're also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements, and that's something we're looking at right now," he said.
Earlier in September, Bahrain and UAE signed a historic agreement aimed at normalising relations with Israel, mediated by the Trump administration.
Termed as Abraham Accords, this peace deal comes almost 26 years after a similar agreement between Israel and Jordan in 1994. Later this year, Sudan and Morocco also agreed to normalise ties with Israel.
Blinken also addressed the prospects of rejoining the nuclear agreement with Iran. "President Biden has been very clear in saying that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing, and then we would use that as a platform, to build with our allies and partners, what we call the longer and stronger agreement and to deal with a number of other issues that are deeply problematic in the relationship with Iran," he said.
"But we are a long way from that point," Blinken continued. "Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts. It would take some time, should it make the decision to do so for it to come back into compliance and time for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations. So we're not there yet, to say the least."
Earlier, Biden had promised during his election campaign that he would ensure that Saudi Arabia does not use American weapons in Yemen, where a proxy war with Iran has led to widespread hunger and many civilian deaths.
( With inputs from ANI )
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