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Blinken: US still ready to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates

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F-35 UAE
F-35 PHOTO: US Air Force (Flickr)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is still ready to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. The UAE had previously threatened to cancel the $23 billion contract due to stringent requirements. The warning comes as Washington grows increasingly concerned about China’s role as a United Arab Emirates partner.

F-35 Lighting II Photo by Rob Shenk

Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State of the United States, reiterated on Wednesday that the United States was still willing to sell F-35 fighter fighters to the United Arab Emirates, which had previously threatened to cancel the contract due to severe requirements.

The $23 billion weaponry purchase was pushed through by outgoing President Donald Trump as a reward for the United Arab Emirates’ recognition of Israel, but his successor, President Joe Biden, has committed to increasing supervision over the jets in the future.

The United Arab Emirates threatened to withdraw from the pact on Tuesday due to its stringent terms, and the warning comes as Washington grows increasingly concerned about China’s role as the US partner.

Although Blinken stated that “we remain prepared to move forward if that is what the Emiratis are interested in doing” while on a visit to Malaysia, he did not elaborate. When asked about the conditions the United States had imposed, he did not provide specifics, but did say that the United States intended to ensure that Israel maintained its “military advantage.”

UAE DUBAI Photo by HerryLawford

He explained: “We wanted to make certain that we had the ability to do a full examination of any technology that was sold or transferred to other partners in the region.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report the standoff, the United States was pressing for criteria to ensure that the F-35s would not be subject to Chinese spying if they were to be built.

Israel, a close friend of the United States and a staunch opponent of Arab states acquiring F-35 fighter jets in order to maintain its regional edge, changed its position last year when the United Arab Emirates became the first new Arab country in decades to recognize the Jewish state.

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