International Security

US Senate seek to stop Trump’s $23bn UAE arms sale

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Air Force F-35 flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Three United States senators on Wednesday said they would introduce legislation seeking to halt the Trump administration’s effort to sell more than $23bn of drones and other weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates, a showdown with the president two months before he is due to leave office.

Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Rand Paul announced they would introduce four separate resolutions of disapproval of President Donald Trump’s plan to sell billions of dollars’ worth of Reaper drones and other munitions, F-35 fighter aircraft and air-to-air missiles to the UAE.

The lawmakers said the Trump administration, seeking to rush the sale of the sophisticated weaponry, circumvented the normal congressional review process.

They said the US State and Defense Departments also refused to respond to inquiries about how the administration would deal with national security risks associated with the proposed sales.

Murphy was also concerned with the UAE’s “behaviour” in the region, according to a joint statement he and Menendez released on Wednesday.

The weaponry involved includes the world’s most advanced fighter jet, the F-35, the sale of which was part of negotiations on normalisation between the UAE and Israel.

The deal also includes more than 14,000 deadly bombs and munitions and the second-largest sale of US drones to a single country, the senators said.

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committees have the power to review and block weapons sales under an informal review process.

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