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Israel ‘will not oppose’ advanced US arms sales to UAE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday his country would not oppose US sales of advanced weapon systems to the UAE, apparently referring to F-35 fighter planes.

“The prime minister and the defence minister both agree that since the US is upgrading Israel’s military capability and maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE,” the premier said in a joint statement with Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

Gantz held talks in the Pentagon Thursday where he got assurances from US Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Israel’s “qualitative military edge” would not suffer.

Israel has made its concerns clear following President Donald Trump’s confirmation last month that the United States could sell F-35s to the UAE.

It has long opposed the sale of the fighter planes to any US allies in the region including Egypt and Jordan, both of which have peace treaties with Israel.

Israel has already received a first consignment of F-35s, which are coveted by Gulf powers including the UAE.

The Netanyahu-Gantz statement came minutes after the announcement in Washington of the normalisation of relations between Israel and Sudan.

It is the third Arab country to officially recognise the Jewish state this year, following the Emirates and Bahrain.