The administration of US President Joe Biden has temporarily frozen a huge package of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates and weapons to Saudi Arabia, officials said on Wednesday.
Almost a week old, the government has already signaled that it plans to end support for the Saudi Arabia-led, UAE-backed offensive in Yemen, which faces a humanitarian catastrophe.
A State Department spokesman said the administration was “temporarily suspending the implementation” of a series of defense sales “to allow incoming leadership to review.”
“This is a routine administrative measure typical of most transitions and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance,” the spokesman said.
The move also aims to “ensure that US arms sales meet our strategic goals of building stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partners.”
The most famous sale is a $ 23 billion package of premium F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration approved the sale – the first of the stealth-enabled aircraft to an Arab nation – after the United Arab Emirates agreed to recognize Israel.
A possible halt to sales could raise questions about whether the United Arab Emirates will continue normalizing with Israel, which Trump saw as a major foreign policy achievement.
Biden Democratic Party lawmakers had raised concerns about the deal fearing it would spark an arms race, but failed to block sales in the Senate while Trump was in office.
The package for the United Arab Emirates also included unarmed drones, while the United States has been preparing large ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.
Trump had expressly supported arms sales for commercial reasons and said that the Saudis would create US jobs by buying them from US manufacturers.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said during his confirmation hearing that the Saudi offensive against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen had contributed to the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)