Qatar signs $12 billion deal to buy F-15 jets from US


Qatar's Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday the country signed a deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States for $12 billion.

The deal for the F-15 jets was completed despite the Gulf country being criticised by US President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

According to Reuters, Qatar officials and Jim Mattis, the Defense Secretary of the United States, were supposed to meet on Wednesday in order to solidify the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Qatari news agency reported Wednesday that two US Navy vessels arrived in Doha to take part in a joint military exercise with the Qatari Emiri Navy.

The Pentagon said the jets sale would increase security cooperation between the U.S. and Qatar.

Boeing which is the maker of these fighter planes did not comment on the controversial sale.

Speaking to the House armed services committee 12 June, Mattis called the diplomatic situation "very complex", acknowledging the large US military presence and close US-Qatar military relationship.

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Saudi Arabia and its allies - led by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain - have said there can be no mending of ties until Qatar ends its support for groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which the four governments blacklist as a "terrorist" group.

The deal is going ahead despite the US President's condemnation of Qatar last week, when he also appeared to take partial credit for the blockade.

However, Trump also met with Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month.

They accuse Qatar of "funding terrorism", fomenting regional unrest and cozying up to Iran, all of which Qatar denies.

"We do not want any differences between our brothers in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, and it is not enough to say that there is a problem without trying to resolve it", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

As the Saudi-led bloc moved against Qatar, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's attempts to remain neutral were overshadowed by a series of heavy handed Tweets from Trump, in which he accused Qatar of supporting "terror". "America's support for Qatar is deep-rooted and not easily influenced by political changes", the unnamed official was quoted as saying. Al Udeid Air Base is home to more than 11,000 U.S. and coalition troops.

"We are working bring these states together towards a solution which satisfies both their current regional concerns and the global needs and expectations of passengers and shippers", ICAO said.