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Biden administration proceeding with $23 billion weapons sales to UAE

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The administration of US President Joe Biden is moving forward with over $23 billion in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, which include advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment.

The Biden administration would proceed with the proposed sales to the UAE, “even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials” pertaining to the use of the weapons, a State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The deals had been agreed to by former Republican president Donald Trump, but the Democratic president’s administration had paused them for review.

In November, the White House informed the Congress about the planned $23.37 billion package which contained products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp, including 50 F-35 Lighting II aircraft, up to 18 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Systems and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

The sales were approved following the so-called Abraham Accords, a US-brokered agreement in September in which the UAE agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

Some US lawmakers had criticized the UAE for its involvement in Saudi devastating war on Yemen, which according to the United Nations, has caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The sales’ opponents had warned that the transactions were being rushed through, without sufficient assurances that the advanced weapons would not fall into the wrong hands or fuel instability in the Middle East.

A Senate effort to block the sales failed in December, as Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress backed his plans.

The sales were finalized by the Trump administration on Jan. 20, about an hour before Biden was sworn in as president.

If implemented, the estimated delivery dates on the sales are for after 2025 or later, according to the State Department spokesperson.

During Trump’s tenure, lawmakers had repeatedly failed to block his plans for arms sales to Washington’s allies in the Middle East, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, that latter of which has been Washington’s number one weapons buyer.

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