UAE Suspends Talks with US On F-35 Jets: Report

An official of the United Arab Emirates said they have informed the United States that it will suspend discussions to acquire F-35 fighter jets.

“Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis led to the re-assessment,” the UAE official said in a statement to Reuters.

“The US remains the UAE’s preferred provider for advanced defense requirements and discussions for the F-35 may be reopened in the future,” the official said, adding there were discussions to “address mutual defense security conditions for the acquisition”.

Earlier, the Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby had said the US partnership with the UAE was more strategic and complex than a weapons sale and Washington was committed to working with Abu Dhabi to address their questions.

“We will always insist, as a matter of statutory requirements and policy, on a variety of end use requirements,” Kirby said.

He furthered that a meeting between US and UAE officials at the Pentagon last week was set to be about broad topics but anticipated that the weapons sale would come up.

A month ago, a US official said that Washington intends to move forward with the sale of 50 F-35 stealth fighters jets to the UAE but there must be a clear understanding of Emirati obligations.

The UAE is withdrawing from a $23 billion deal signed in January with the US to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones.

The UAE has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin and was promised a chance to buy them, Reuters said.

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