United Arab Emirates suspends multi-billion dollar arms deal amid growing frustration over US-China conflict

An Emirati official told CNN that the United Arab Emirates has told the United States to suspend talks over the purchase of the F-35. “Technical requirements, sovereign operational controls and cost / benefit analysis led to a reassessment.”

“The United Arab Emirates and the United States are working towards an understanding that addresses mutual security and security conditions for the acquisition,” the official added. “The United States is the United Arab Emirates’ preferred supplier of advanced security requirements, and discussions on the F-35 may reopen in the future.”

The State Department said the White House was “firmly” committed to the agreement, which is seen as the cornerstone of the August 2020 agreement to normalize diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The sale – which will include sophisticated US weapons that have not yet been transferred to the Arab world – has been on the verge of conflict ever since, with US politicians raising concerns about the deal.

On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States was ready to work with the United Arab Emirates to address the concerns of both countries. “The US partnership with the United Arab Emirates is more strategic and more complex than any arms sale,” Kirby told reporters. “As a matter of legal requirements and policy, we will always emphasize the various end-user requirements. That’s the norm.”

“And the security of these end-user requirements and US security equipment is global, negotiable and not specific to the UAE,” he added.

The landmark deal comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Saeed, the true leader of the United Arab Emirates, in the United Arab Emirates. This is the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the Gulf.

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“Although we continue to consult to ensure we have a clear, mutual understanding, as we recently confirmed at the Dubai Air Show, Biden-Harris management is committed to the proposed sale of F-35 aircraft, MQ-9B and ammunition. Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co. The U.S. government has repeatedly urged the United Arab Emirates to drop its telecommunications network, and said the technology could pose a security risk to its weapons systems.

“The F-35 is the crown jewel of the United States and our air force, so we can protect technical security for all of our allies,” Mira Resnick, the U.S. deputy secretary of state for regional security, told CNN. Becky Anderson last week answered the question of whether the UAE should choose between Huawei and the F-35s.

“These are conversations we had with Emirates about the choices they can make now to ensure they can be part of the F-35 program,” Resnick added.

But UAE officials are skeptical of US claims of a possible security breach and have expressed concern about being embroiled in a “new Cold War” between a top trading partner and its key strategic ally. “We are concerned about the fierce competition (between China and the United States) and this fine line between a new Cold War,” Anwar Karkash, the UAE’s leading diplomatic adviser, told the Gulf Gulf Association in Washington last week. . “Because, as a small state, I think we will be negatively affected by this, but it will not have the potential to positively affect this competition in any way.”

In those comments, Karkashum Confirmed reports The United Arab Emirates closed the Chinese facility on suspicion that it was being used for military purposes, and did not agree with the United States’ characterization of the UAE base. “It is the opinion of the United Arab Emirates that these particular facilities cannot be considered military facilities in any way,” Karkash said. “However, the United States had its concerns, and we stopped working on these facilities in light of these U.S. concerns.”

“But our position is the same. These facilities are not really military facilities,” he added. “But again, you had your main partner’s concerns. I think it’s foolish for you to ignore your partner’s concerns.”

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Pentagon spokesman Kirby said a military delegation from the United Arab Emirates was due to visit the Pentagon tomorrow. While this meeting should not be about sales of F-35s, it will definitely come, he said.

“This meeting was not designed to talk about military sales,” he said. “It’s designed to talk about the broader scope of our security relationship with the United Arab Emirates. But I expect it to be an opportunity to talk to them about their concerns. Sales.”

Mustafa Salem and Celine Alcaldi reported from Abu Dhabi. Jennifer Hansler and Oren Lieberman reported from Washington. Tamara Kiplawi wrote from London.

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