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US cautions Middle Eastern allies over Huawei

DUBAI: The United States has raised its concerns with Gulf partners over a potential threat chance in utilizing Huawei’s technology for their 5G mobile infrastructure, US authorities said on Thursday.

Washington has been cautioning allies against using the Chinese company’s products, which it says shows security threat, however, has so far has made public statements to the European states.

Huawei has repeatedly rejected the US accusations, which were raised last week during a visit by Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, all of which are using its equipment.

“We shared a … message about the importance of securing 5G technology and applying risk-based security principles,” Robert Strayer, the U.S. State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for cyber, international communications and information policy said on Thursday.

Washington has shown deep concerns that Beijing could be exploiting Huawei. Hence, the US has threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing with countries that use its equipment. China and Huawei deny the claims.

US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain, while American soldiers are camped in UAE, who is supporting US military operations in the region. Washington has said it plans to station soldiers in Saudi Arabia as part of wider deployment in the region.

“We think that when you apply a security-based framework, one would end up excluding Huawei from deployments of 5G,” Strayer, who was with Pai on the visit to the region, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters in March that Huawei had met the Gulf state’s standards and that it had no concerns.

Saudi and UAE officials have refrained from commenting on the U.S.-Huawei issue. A source familiar with the matter has told Reuters that the Emiratis believe they can manage the risk.

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