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Pompeo reassures Netanyahu U.S. will ensure Israel's military advantage

Credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR

The United States will ensure that Israel still holds a military advantage in the Middle East under any future U.S. arms deals with the United Arab Emirates, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The United States will ensure that Israel still holds a military advantage in the Middle East under any future U.S. arms deals with the United Arab Emirates, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

"The United States has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honour that," Pompeo told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said he had been reassured on the issue by Pompeo, who began a Middle East visit in Jerusalem that will showcase U.S. support for Israeli-Arab peace efforts and building a front against Iran. It will include Sudan, the UAE and Bahrain.

A U.S.-brokered deal on normalising relations between Israel and the UAE was announced on Aug. 13. But there has been some dissent in Israel over the prospect of the Gulf power now obtaining advanced U.S. weaponry such as the F-35 warplane.

Speaking on CNN on Saturday, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said the UAE "has been trying to get the F-35 for a long time".

"This new peace agreement should increase the probability of them getting it. But it's something we're reviewing," he said.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Angus MacSwan)

((jeffrey.heller@thomsonreuters.com; +97226322202;))

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