US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the US is ready to move forward with the sale of F-35 fighter jets and drones to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite rumours that the UAE intended to halt talks on the deal.
A UAE official said that it had informed the US on Tuesday that it will postpone talks on acquiring F-35 fighter jets, which are part of a $23 billion agreement that also includes drones and other advanced munitions.
The UAE government has re-evaluated the deal due to "technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis," according to the official.
People familiar with the situation said in January that the UAE had signed a deal to buy 50 F-35 fighter jets and up to 18 armed drones.
Blinken stated that Washington needed to conduct some reviews.
"For example, we wanted to make sure that our commitment to Israel's qualitative military edge is secured," Blinken said. "So we wanted to make sure that we could perform a thorough review of any technologies that are sold or transferred to other partners in the region, including the UAE."
"However, I believe we are still prepared to move forward if the UAE wants to pursue both of these," he said.