WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Microsoft deal to invest $1.5 billion in G42 is "generally a positive development" because it forced the United Arab Emirates-based company to sever ties to China's Huawei, a White House official said on Monday.

"In a place like UAE...where you had G42 working very closely with Huawei, for example, we have an interest in changing that picture," White House technology advisor Tarun Chhabra said at an event in Washington D.C. "We see...the effort to work with Microsoft as an alternative to Huawei is generally a positive development and one that we want to encourage," he added.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Doina Chiacu and Alexandra Alper)