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Report: US to freeze arms sales to UAE, Saudi Arabia

Pause will give Biden administration chance to "review" deals made under Trump

Israeli Air Force F-35 flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

The United States is freezing its sale of F-35s to the United Arab Emirates and other arms to Saudi Arabia, according to a U.S. State Department official, giving the new administration a chance to review the deals brokered by former President Donald Trump's administration.

"The review, the officials said, includes the sale of precision-guided munitions to Riyadh as well as top-line F-35 fighters to Abu Dhabi, a deal that Washington approved as part of the Abraham Accords, in which the Emirates established diplomatic relations with Israel," The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night.

Trump administration officials had long maintained that the signing of the Abraham Accords was not officially connected to the sale of warplanes to the UAE, but soon after the agreement was announced Emirati officials pursued their request for approval to purchase F-35s.

The U.S. would lose multiple billions of dollars. The Journal said that the UAE was going to pay $23 billion for the F-35s, drones and other munitions and billions in contracts with Riyadh.

Currently, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with F-35s.

While such a freeze is not unusual for a new administration, the newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his confirmation hearings that President Joe Biden “has made clear that we will end our support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and I think we will work on that in very short order.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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