The United Arab Emirates' ambassador to Washington said he was confident the sale of F-35 jets to his country would go through after a review by President Joe Biden's administration of some pending arms sales to U.S. allies.
The UAE had during Donald Trump's last day in office signed agreements to buy up to 50 F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin, 18 armed drones and other defense equipment in a deal worth $23 billion.
It found opposition within Israel following reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his secret assent to the sale as part of last year's normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
"We did everything by the book and they will discover that once the review is complete and it will proceed," Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba told a virtual Washington Institute forum on Monday, describing the review as "pro forma".
Last month, a U.S. State Department official said Biden's administration was temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending arms sales to U.S. allies to review them.
"Everything is still proceeding while undergoing a review at the same time. I am confident it will end up in the right place," Otaiba said.
"If you are going to have less of a presence and less involvement in the Middle East you can't at the same time take tools away from your partners who are expected to do more," he said.
In December, the Senate rejected attempts to block the transaction, which opponents had said was being rushed through without sufficient assurances that the equipment would not fall into the wrong hands or fuel instability in the Middle East.