Biden Proceeding With Trump’s Controversial $23.4 Billion Arms Deal To United Arab Emirates
US President Joe Biden is going ahead with a controversial $23.4 billion arms deal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), originally pushed by Donald Trump.
The deal, which would see the the sales of an advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones, bombs, missiles and other equipment, was put under review when the Biden administration came to power.
In November last year, the Trump administration had approved deals with the UAE linked to the Abraham Accords, intended to smooth out the country’s relationship with Israel.
As reported by Reuters, the multi-billion-dollar package also includes products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp, such as 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.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed the deals, telling the outlet they’re going ahead ‘even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials’ with regards to how the weapons will be used.
The news was also confirmed via The Huffington Post, which received a statement from the New York Centre for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) amid its lawsuit against the sale of F-35 aircraft.
A spokesperson said, ‘While we will not comment on ongoing litigation, we can confirm that that the Administration intends to move forward with these proposed defense sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery.’
Justin Russell, who’s part of the NYCFPA, also said, ‘We believe that the Trump administration put this deal together in an illegal manner. It is our hope that the Biden administration would put mitigating a humanitarian crisis of global proportions before putting arms in the hands of an aggressor nation like the UAE.’
It’s estimated that if the deals are fully agreed upon and completed, the weapons will be delivered to the UAE in 2025, at the earliest. In the meantime, the US government expects a ‘robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to [ensure] any defense transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership’.
The government’s statement added, ‘We will also continue to reinforce with the UAE and all recipients of US defense articles and services that US-origin defense equipment must be adequately secured and used in a manner that respects human rights and fully complies with the laws of armed conflict.’
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