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Pentagon agrees to $12 billion jet deal with Qatar


Qatari Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah met with his USA counterpart, James Mattis, to sign the agreement Wednesday.

The Bloomberg News pointed out that, while Trump appeared to back Saudi Arabia and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a more neutral tone, the Defense Department underscored its relations with Qatar, saying the us was grateful to the country for its support of the USA presence there.

The deal was completed despite the Gulf country being criticized recently by U.S. President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

The fighter jets will be built by Boeing and "give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the U.S. Department of Defense said. According to Bloomberg News, Qatar has signed to buy 36 F-15 jets.

This last November, the USA had approved to possibly sell up $21.1bn worth of F-15QA aircrafts to Qatar- around 72 of them.

Qatar and the US finalized a a multi-billion dollar weapons deal Wednesday in the latest sign of a confused USA policy vis-a-vis the ongoing gulf crisis.

The biggest USA airbase in the Middle East is situated in Qatar and the country often helps USA troops in fights against Isis in Iraq and Syria.

The crews of the two vessels were received by Qatari navy officers, QNA said, citing the statement from the defence ministry.

Speaking to Agency during his visit to Qatar's capital, Doha, amid a diplomatic row in the Gulf region, Cavusoglu said the efforts by Turkey so far and the future steps to be taken were discussed during his meetings with several top Qatari officials.

Pentagon and State Department officials have since scrambled to reassure the emirate, which hosts the largest USA airbase in the Middle East and the command headquarters for U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Kuwait has led efforts to mediate the dispute which had affected food imports and raised questions over the Gulf Arab state's plans to host the 2022 World Cup.

However, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the U.A.E.in a collective statement has accused 59 individuals and 12 charity organisations in Qatar of being "linked to terror".

Qatar is facing a severe economic and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies who cut ties last week, in the worst rift among Gulf Arab states in years. Qatar is the host to one of the largest United States military bases in the region. More than 100 aircraft operate from there.

Gulf states transport ministers and aviation officials kicked off a meeting on Thursday at the United Nations aviation agency's headquarters in Montreal to discuss the airspace standoff resulting from the Arab world's biggest powers decision to cut ties with Qatar.

But other officials in the administration including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for the situation to be deescalated and on Wednesday while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee Tillerson played down any suggestion the President is on a different page stating: "there is no daylight between he and I" on the issue of Qatar.

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