The Biden administration has paused arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as it conducts a wider review of agreements worth billions of dollars made by the Trump administration, sources familiar with the matter told CNN Wednesday.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken confirmed that pending arms sales are under review, as is typical at the start of a new administration, “to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives, and advances our foreign policy.”
He did not reference any specific sales or countries in his remarks, which were made at his first State Department news conference as top US diplomat.
The move to freeze the pending sales to the Gulf allies could signal a change in approach by the Biden administration after the Trump administration approved major sales in the last months of its tenure.
Gulf nations that have sales in the pipeline had expected some sort of pause for the administration to review but the practical impact isn’t clear yet, a source familiar with Gulf nations’ thinking said.
A State Department official earlier described the pause as “a routine administrative action typical to most any transition, and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance, as well as ensuring US arms sales meet our strategic objectives of building stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partners.”
The official also did not highlight specific countries in their comment.
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SOURCE: CNN, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood