President Joe Biden’s administration placed a temporary hold on the sale of F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, some of the most significant military sales made under the previous administration.
The sale of the high-tech jets to the pair of nations came as an addendum to their joining the Abraham Accords, a landmark peace agreement former President Donald Trump’s administration brokered between Israel and several of it’s Arab-Muslim neighbors. It is unclear if Saudi Arabia and the UAE would remain in the accords if the sale is ultimately cancelled. The accords are one of the few aspects of the Trump administration that Biden has praised. (RELATED: ‘New Dawn Of Peace’: President Trump, Arab, Israeli Leaders To Sign Historic Abraham Accords)
BN breaks: U.S. Temporarily Pausing Some Foreign Arms Sales, Official Says: Sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets to U.A.E. as well as munitions to Saudi Arabia among the more significant deals from the Trump administration under review, according to a State Department official
— Anthony Capaccio (@ACapaccio) January 27, 2021
“The department is temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending US defense transfers and sales under Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review,” the State Department told the Times of Israel in a statement.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken argued the pause was routine for any new administration.
“When it comes to arms sales, it is typical at the start of an administration to review any pending sales, to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy,” Blinken said Wednesday.
The U.S. was poised to sell 50 F-35s to the UAE for a total of $23 billion. The Trump administration reached a similar deal with Saudi Arabia. Democrats criticized both deals harshly and erected “speed bumps” to delay the process prior to Biden’s administration.