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Peace deal between UAE and Israel could lead to more U.S. arms business, GOP Sen. Tom Cotton says

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told CNBC on Tuesday he expects the new peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, brokered in part by President Donald Trump, to lead to more U.S. arms sales.

“The UAE has been an outstanding partner of the United States,” Cotton said on “Squawk Box.” “They’ve long invested in United States military articles and I suspect that they will do even more of that now.”

Last week, the Trump administration announced a peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The move is the latest effort to normalize diplomatic ties between Arab nations and Israel. The pact makes the UAE the first Persian Gulf state to normalize ties with Israel and the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to do so.

Cotton, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, added that the new ties could attract other Middle Eastern countries to buy more U.S. defense material. 

“I also suspect that there could be other Arab nations that follow in this path and that could also open up the opportunities for more arms sales to our allies to defend against enemies like Iran,” he said.

Crewmasters with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, prepare to refuel an F/A-18 Hornet over the W-291 training area in southern California, March 6, 2019.

Sgt. Dominic Romero | US Marine Corps

The world spends nearly $3 trillion a year on arms, with the United States driving the bulk of the globe’s weapons sales, according to State Department data.

Between 2015 to 2017, approximately 17% of U.S.arms exports went to the Middle East, 12% to the European Union and 27% to East Asia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is America’s top weapons buyer and the world’s largest arms importer. Between 2015 and 2019, Riyadh imported 73% of its arms from Washington, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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