The White House has agreed to assess the United Arab Emirates’ request to begin discussions on the Middle Eastern country’s plan to buy Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. government, Defense News reported Saturday.
President Donald Trump’s plan to consider UAE’s request for a classified briefing over F-35s deviates from the Obama administration’s Qualitative Military Edge policy with Israel.
QME seeks to provide military assistance and weapons systems to Israel to help the country build up its national defense against regional threats on a unilateral basis.
The report said the plan to consider talks with UAE also reflects the U.S. government’s intent to honor the U.S.-UAE Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in May.
“The Trump team has agreed to consider the request,” a former Defense Department official told Defense News.
“It’s not a ‘yes’ yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen once the dust settles,” added the official, who was alluding to the rift between Qatar and other Middle Eastern countries such as UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.