The UAE has signed an agreement with the U.S. to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones. Although the UAE and the US were working to ink a deal before Biden took office, the new president has said he will re-examine the agreements. The UAE, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy F-35 jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal when it agreed to normalize relations with Israel. The US State Department and the UAE Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. One of the people said the agreement was signed about an hour before Biden was sworn into office. The document gave the UAE the chance to accept the negotiated schedule and configuration of the jets while also making the purchase request official.
The UAE and Cyprus signed a defense cooperation agreement in the latest partnership between the Gulf country and a Mediterranean country. UAE Minister of State for Defense Affairs Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi signed the agreement during a videoconference with Cyprus’ Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides. The agreement includes proposals for future joint training exercises and operational cooperation. Petrides lauded the deal as inaugurating a strategic relationship between the two countries’ militaries, according to the Associated Press. The deal is the latest sign the UAE is capitalizing on its common cause with Mediterranean nations opposed to Turkey’s policies in the region. Cyprus currently has close military ties with Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Amid tensions between Greece and Turkey last year, the UAE offered F-16s to partake in joint exercises off Crete with Cypriot, Greek and French military personnel. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed later penned a strategic partnership with Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in November, allowing the two countries to station forces on each other’s territory and share intelligence. See also ‘‘How Capitol Hill Riots Will Complicate Turkey-US Ties’’ (Al-Monitor)
7-12 January 2021
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