‘Positive conversations’ on selling F-35 to UAE: US

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 27 August 2020: A top American official said yesterday that there were “incredibly positive conversations going on” between the US, Israel and UAE with regard to selling F-35 warplanes to the latter.

“We know that there are more agreements to formalise between the UAE and Israel, but you have taken the first step and I have no doubt that the other steps will come into place, and that’s one of the reasons why Secretary Pompeo is here,” Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, told Emirates News Agency (Wam).

“With respect to the F-35 or any military hardware or infrastructure, I keep reminding people that it is important to know that the UAE and US’ military and security relationship is robust and has been there for decades. Since the Gulf War, the United States had sold military aircraft and hardware, F-16s, and others to the UAE,” she added.

“This is not a new relationship; this is a sophisticated relationship that we have had for decades,” she continued.

Ortagus is in Abu Dhabi accompanying the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who landed in the UAE yesterday afternoon on the fourth leg of his regional tour, after having visited Israel, Sudan and Bahrain in the past few days. His next destination is Oman.

The American official emphasised that Pompeo in his meetings, this week, with Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi, had been “pretty firm in his commitment to both the UAE and Israel.”

She added, “We certainly are letting all our allies in the region know that our commitment militarily to strengthen the UAE is incredibly important.”

Ortagus said that the UAE-Israel peace accord, which was announced on 13th August, showed UAE’s “strength and power on the international stage.”

“Little Israeli children will grow up seeing Emirati children in their age on vacation and being able to visit Al Aqsa Mosque, and the same for the UAE [seeing Israeli children in the UAE]. It seems historic for us because of the fact that our children will grow up in a society that is different to the one we grew up in, where there were prejudices what is normal is not for people to hate each other, but to be at peace between Muslims, Christians and Jews,” she added.

Tahnoun bin Zayed receives US Secretary of State

H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, and the US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo yesterday reviewed a number of regional and international issues of concern in addition to the prospects of further consolidating the strategic relations between the two friendly countries.

This came as H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun received today the US top diplomat, who is currently in the UAE as part of his multi-leg tour of the region. They explored the latest developments relating to the global fight against Covid-19 and the two countries’ efforts to stem the fallout of the pandemic.

Sheikh Tahnoun and Pompeo also discussed the peace accord between the UAE and Israel and its key role in advancing peace and stability in the region.



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