Axios reports Abu Dhabi last week cancelled a tripartite meeting in protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the US selling F-35s to the UAE.

An Israeli F-35 takes part in the
An Israeli F-35 takes part in the "Blue Flag" multinational air defence exercise at Ovda air force base, north of Israeli city of Eilat, on November 11, 2019. (Jack Guez / Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly cancelled an anticipated tripartite meeting with Israel and the US over a pending F-35 fighter jets sale.

Abu Dhabi cancelled the meeting on Friday in protest to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to selling F-35s to the UAE, news site Axios reported late on Monday, citing sources familiar with the subject.

Emirati officials have yet to comment on the reported news.

READ MORE: Pompeo begins Middle East tour to lobby for normalisation with Israel

Israel denies role of F-35 

Israeli premier last week renewed his government's opposition to selling US F-35s and other advanced weapons to countries in the region "including Arab countries that make peace with the State of Israel."

Netanyahu denied reports that the UAE deal hinges on the sale of US F-35 stealth fighter-jets to the Emirates, saying he opposes a move that could reduce Israel's strategic edge in the region.

"This deal did not include Israel's acceptance of any arms deal," he said on Monday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel on Monday, said the US was determined to help the Emirates defend itself against Iran "in a way that preserves our commitments to Israel".

"The United States has a legal requirement with respect to (Israel's) qualitative military edge. We will continue to honour that," he told reporters at a joint press conference with Netanyahu.

He noted Washington's long-running security relationship with the UAE, saying the US would "continue to make sure that we're delivering them the equipment that they need to secure and defend their own people...from the Islamic republic of Iran."

And in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Pompeo said: "I hope one day that the Iranians will normalise with Israel as well."

But in a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described Pompeo as an "outlaw".

"Standing next to World's #1 nuclear threat, he declares his desire to flood our region with even more US weapons," he wrote.

READ MORE: Trump weighs F-35 jet sales to UAE despite Israeli objections

UAE-Israel renewal of ties

Earlier this month, the UAE and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalise relations, including opening embassies in each other's territory.

The UAE will be the third Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Palestinian groups have denounced the UAE-Israel deal, saying it does not serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of Palestinians.

Since 2011, the UAE has been seeking to acquire F-35 fighter jets, but the administration of US President Barack Obama refused. 

The Trump administration in 2017 agreed to consider Abu Dhabi’s request to enter into initial talks on buying the planes.

READ MORE: Why are Arab states muted over the UAE-Israel deal? 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies