Abu Dhabi, UAE CNN  — 

The United Arab Emirates has suspended a multi-billion dollar deal to buy US-made F-35 fighter jets, in a sign of Abu Dhabi’s growing frustration with Washington’s attempts to limit Chinese technology sales to the oil-rich Gulf state.

“The UAE has informed the US that it will suspend discussions to acquire the F-35,” an Emirati official told CNN. “Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis led to the re-assessment.”

“The UAE and US were working toward an understanding that would address mutual defense security conditions for the acquisition,” the official added. “The US remains the UAE’s preferred provider for advanced defense requirements and discussions for the F-35 may be re-opened in the future.”

The US State Department said the White House remained “committed” to the deal, which was seen as a cornerstone of an August 2020 agreement to normalize diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel. The sale – which would involve the most advanced US weaponry ever transferred to an Arab state – has been on a collision course since then, with US politicians raising concerns about the deal.

On Tuesday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby also said that the US was willing to work with the UAE to address both countries’ concerns. “The US partnership with the UAE is more strategic and more complex than any one weapons sale,” Kirby said at a press gaggle. “We will always insist, as a matter of statutory requirements and policy, on a variety of end-user requirements. That’s typical.”

“And these end-user requirements and protection of US defense equipment are universal, nonnegotiable and not specific to the UAE,” he added.

The suspension of the landmark deal comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met the UAE’s de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, in the UAE capital. It was the first offical visit was the first by an Israeli leader to the Gulf state.

“As we recently confirmed at the Dubai Air Show, the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to the proposed sales of F-35 aircraft, the MQ-9B, and munitions even as we continue consultations to ensure that we have a clear, mutual understanding of Emirati obligations and actions before, during and after delivery,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The US government has repeatedly pushed the UAE to drop China’s Huawei Technologies Co. from its telecommunications network, and claimed that the technology could pose a security risk for its weapons systems.