The UAE ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al-Otaiba, said that he is confident that the sale of US F-35s to his country will continue after President Joe Biden’s administration reviews some arms sales, which have been temporarily suspended by Washington allies.
On the last day of the rule of former US President Donald Trump, the UAE concluded an agreement to purchase up to 50 F-35s, as well as 18 armed drones and other defense equipment, in a deal worth up to $ 23 billion.
“We did everything according to the rules, and they will find out once the review process is completed, and things will go according to arrangements,” Otaiba said in a speech to a forum organized by the Washington Institute via video link on Monday, describing the review as “cosmetic.”
A US State Department official said last month that the Biden administration had temporarily suspended the implementation of some arms sales to US allies until they were subject to review.
Al-Otaiba said, “Everything is going according to arrangements under the review procedure. I am confident that the matter will end in an appropriate manner.”
He added, “If you intend to have less of your presence and participation in the Middle East, you cannot at the same time extract tools from your partners who are expected to do a lot.”
The UAE was promised to acquire F-35 stealth planes, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, through a side deal when it established normalization relations with Israel last August under an agreement brokered by the United States.
In December, the Senate rejected efforts to block the deal, which opponents said was concluded quickly without sufficient assurances that the equipment would not fall into the wrong hand or fuel instability in the Middle East.