US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he would have “no problem” selling upgraded F-35 warplanes to the United Arab Emirates, despite objections from close ally Israel.
“I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it,” he said on Fox News. “I would have no problem selling them to the F-35.”
Trump, who would later oversee the signing of an agreement that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE on Tuesday, said the sale would mean a “tremendous job at home”.
The UAE is eyeing stealth fighter jets as a component in its ambitious plans to make the small, wealthy country a regional military power. Israel – currently the only country in the region to have American warplanes – has insisted on retaining its enormous technological advantage against its Arab neighbors.
Analysts say the UAE has used its demand for the F-35 as a bargaining chip to sign the Trump-brokered peace deal at the White House, including Bahrain.
Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, said last week, “Israel’s security is higher than that of any US president in decades.”
“But the United Arab Emirates is a great military, you know, America’s partner. We work on a lot of things together. They are right on the border with Iran and are a real threat. And I think there are a lot of opportunities.” It can be achieved by working on it, “he said.
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