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Pausing UAE military sales won’t harm normalization: Netanyahu

JERUSALEM

US President Joe Biden’s decision to freeze the sale of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates will not affect the normalization agreements signed last year between Tel Aviv and Arab countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

“I think we are at a point of no return [in terms of normalization],” the state-owned KAN TV news channel quoted Netanyahu as saying during his visit to the city of Negev.

The US State Department temporarily froze several military sales Wednesday that were approved by former President Donald Trump’s administration, including F-35 sales to the UAE.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they are carefully reviewing the promises made by former President Donald Trump’s administration to Arab countries in return for normalizing relations with Israel.

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The Trump administration formally authorized the sale of the stealth jets in November after the UAE normalized relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords.

On Jan. 22, the UAE confirmed that letters of agreements had been completed for a deal with the US worth about $23 billion and included up to 50 F-35A fighter jets worth $10.4 billion, 18 MQ-9B drones worth $2.97 billion and various munitions worth $10 billion.

In a statement, the UAE embassy in Washington said the letters of agreement were finalized on Jan. 20, the last day of Trump’s term in office.

The UAE — an important ally of the US in the Middle East – has been seeking to buy F-35 fighter jets for a long time.

The normalization agreement with Israel opened the way for the UAE to obtain the jets.

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