The UAE has informed the US that it will suspend discussions to acquire F-35 fighter jets as part of a $23 billion deal that also includes drones and other advanced munitions, Daily Mail reported.
The sale of 50 F-35 warplanes made by Lockheed Martin to the UAE had slowed amid concerns in Washington over Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China, including use of Huawei 5G technology in the country.
‘Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis led to the re-assessment,’ a UAE official said to the Wall Street Journal.
Emirati officials blame an American insistence on restrictions on how and where the F-35s could be used and say they are a violation of the UAE’s sovereignty, Daily Mail reported.
The country has long worked with the US on counterterrorism and allowed the entry of people fleeing Afghanistan during the chaotic US withdrawal earlier this year. But tensions between Washington and Abu Dhabi have risen over the UAE’s growing cooperation with China, the report said.
Last week, a top Emirati diplomat acknowledged the UAE stopped construction on a Chinese facility at an Abu Dhabi port that America considered a military base.
‘We took these American concerns into consideration and we stopped the work on the facilities,’ the diplomat, Anwar Gargash, told a meeting of the the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. ‘But our position remains the same, that these facilities were not really military facilities,’ the report added.