Pompeo says US to keep Israel’s military edge

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US will continue to ensure Israel’s military edge in the Middle East under any future weapons deals involving the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

“The United States has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honour that,” Pompeo said on Monday while making joint statements in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Xinhua news agency reported.

Netanyahu said he was reassured on the issue by the state secretary.

Pompeo said he hoped that other Arab countries would follow the United Arab Emirates and form diplomatic ties with Israel. “I am hopeful that we will see other Arab nations join in this,” Pompeo said.

A US-brokered deal to normalize ties between Israel and the UAE was announced on August 13.

Last week, local Israeli media reported that the White House is planning a “giant” sale of F-35 warplanes as part of the deal.

Pompeo arrived in Israel on Monday, kick-starting his five-day trip to the region. He has meetings scheduled also with Israel’s Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.