US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would be willing to sell other countries in the Middle East the same weapons systems sold to Israel.
In an interview with Fox News, he said that the United Arab wanted to buy some fighter jets, adding: “I personally would have no problem with it.”
He made his remarks ahead of a signing ceremony at the White House for agreements normalizing relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain later on Tuesday.
Earlier, UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anawar Gargash said his country wants to modernize its military and a request for US F-35 warplanes has been on the table since before the normalization deal with Israel.
The agreement, known as the Abraham Accord, should dispel “any grain of doubt” on why the Gulf state should get stealth F-35 fighter jets from the United States, Gargash told reporters.
“The UAE seeks like any country that takes its military seriously, to modernize its military, always, so our request for the F35 and other systems pre-dates this agreement,” he said.
The UAE’s existing F-16 jets are now almost two decades old and it is time to renew them, he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government would oppose any U.S. F-35 warplane sales to the UAE.