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Biden decides to advance sale of F-35 fighter jets to UAE

Aides in the US Congress said Tuesday evening that President Joe Biden's administration has informed Congress that it will press ahead with a $ 23 billion deal to sell weapons to the UAE, including advanced F-35s, armed drones and other equipment.

A State Department spokesman confirmed that the administration intends to proceed with the sale of weapons to the UAE, "even as we continue to review details and consult with Emirati officials" regarding the use of weapons.

The Democratic President's administration had suspended the agreements approved by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, for review.

And in early February, the UAE ambassador to the United States, Yusef Al-Otaiba, confirmed that US President Joe Biden's review of pending arms sales to US allies is imminent.

Al-Otaiba said that he was "confident of completing the sale of American F-35 aircraft to the UAE, after Biden's review."

He added, "We did everything as it should, and they will discover that upon completion of the review, and (the deal) will be completed," considering that Biden's review is "cosmetic."

The UAE concluded the aircraft deal in the last days of former President Donald Trump, and the $ 23.37 billion package includes products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, including 50 F-35 Lightning 2 aircraft and up to 18 drones. An MQ-9B and a pack of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

Some lawmakers have expressed concern that the arms deal may violate US guarantees that Israel will retain a military advantage in the region, but Israel has said it is not against the deal.

A legislative attempt to halt sales in December failed after Trump's Republican colleagues in Congress backed his plans, and then the Trump administration finalized the mega-deal for the UAE on January 20, about an hour before Biden was sworn in as president.

A spokesman for the US State Department confirmed Tuesday that the expected delivery dates for sales, if implemented, will be in or after 2025.

"The government expects a strong and sustained dialogue with the UAE to ensure a stronger security partnership," the spokesman said in an emailed statement.

"We will continue to emphasize with the UAE and all beneficiaries of US defense materials and services that US defense equipment must be secured and used in a manner that respects human rights and fully complies with the laws of armed conflict," he added in the statement.

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