The administration of US President Joe Biden is moving forward with the sale of high-powered weapons and military equipment worth $23 billion to the UAE, congressional aides said Tuesday.
The development was announced even as government officials continue to review the deal and schedule meetings with UAE representatives regarding the procurement and use of the weapons.
Included in the deal are 50 F-35 Lightning II fighters, 18 MQ-9B Predator drones, as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.
“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,” a State Department spokesperson said.
In January, the Biden administration ordered a temporary freeze on arms sales to the Middle East for “thorough review.”
Former President Donald Trump initiated and approved the sale, which reportedly serves as a side deal to the Abraham Accords, an agreement brokered by the US.
The UAE, meanwhile, said it had anticipated the Biden administration would postpone the sale to review the deal.
If implemented, the military hardware is expected to be delivered in 2025.
Biden Admin Also Reviewing Sales to Saudi Arabia
The Biden administration is also conducting an in-depth review of the policies of the US regarding weapons deals with Saudi Arabia, including those approved by Trump.
A government official in February told Reuters that the administration was thinking of canceling previously approved deals that posed concerns about human rights.
The result of the review has yet to be released to the public.