The Trump administration formally notified Congress on Tuesday of its intent to sell F-35s and other military assets to the United Arab Emirates, announced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The proposed sale, worth $23.37 billion, includes 50 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, 18 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Systems and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, he said.

If the sale, which requires congressional approval, is completed, the UAE would be the second country in the Middle East after Israel to have the advanced fighter jets.

If Congress objects to the sale, it has 30 days to pass a resolution stating its stance. However, a two-thirds majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate would be required to override a presidential veto.

The pending deal comes in the wake of the Abraham Accords, signed on Sept. 15, which officially normalizes relations with Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

Israel initially expressed objections to such a sale due to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the Middle East as required by U.S. law. Following recent assurances by the Trump administration and a trip last month to Washington by Defense Minister Benny Gantz to discuss the matter, Israel approved America going through with the sale.


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