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UAE THREATENS TO BUY ARMS ELSEWHERE IF $23B U.S. DEAL IS JUNKED

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to the United States says his country will be forced to turn elsewhere and acquire the weapons it needs in case Washington refuses to supply the Persian Gulf state with required munitions, Iran Press TV reported.

"We would rather have the best US-equipment or we will reluctantly find it from other sources, even if less capable," Yousef al-Otaiba said in a statement on Thursday amid growing opposition and attempts to block Republican President Donald Trump's $23 billion weapons sale to the Arab country. Otaiba then sought to portray the multi-billion arms deal as an "investment in the US," pointing out that the agreement would "support tens of thousands of US jobs, sustain the US defense industrial base, and lower future US research and development costs."


The remarks came in response to a Twitter thread published a day earlier by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy in which he pointed to the UAE's cooperation with Saudi Arabia in an atrocious military campaign against Yemen, where they "have killed thousands of civilians with US-made weapons." He said that in Libya, the UAE is in violation of the international arms embargo. And there's evidence the UAE has illegally transferred US military equipment to extremist militias in Yemen.


On November 9, Amnesty International called on the United States to drop plans to sell sophisticated armed MQ-9B aerial drones to the UAE, saying that there is evidence of civilian deaths as a result Abu Dhabi's involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen and Libya. Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said at the time that Washington must resolutely refrain from supplying the UAE with arms that could kill civilians in war-wracked Yemen and Libya. "The startling fact that the US continues its unflinching support of providing weapons that risk adding to the devastating toll of Yemeni civilians unlawfully killed and injured by US-made weapons should shake to the core every person living in this country," Nassif commented.




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