UAE weapons show draws major deals, traders amid pandemic

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A military delegation visit the display of Halcon, a regional leader in the end-to-end manufacturing of precision-guided systems, during the opening day of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference, IDEX, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In spite of the surging coronavirus pandemic, major arms makers were descending on a convention center in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

At the region’s biggest arms expo, they’re hoping to make deals with militaries across the Middle East.

The UAE unveiled $1.36 billion in local and foreign arms deals on Sunday. Still, the pandemic’s effects remained visible.

Significant national pavilions were absent, including the United States, the world’s largest arms exporter.

Israeli COVID restrictions also prevented it from joining the expo, which would have been a first after it normalized relations with the UAE last year.

Scores of other countries, from China to Russia, had no qualms showing up during the pandemic.

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