Qatar signs deal with U.S. to buy F-15 fighter jets

Marco Green
June 26, 2017

The deal was sealed by Qatari Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah and his United States counterpart, Jim Mattis, in Washington, the Pentagon has confirmed.

Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is home to more than 11,000 US and coalition forces and an important base for the fight against Islamic State militants in the region. The signing of the agreement is "yet another step in advancing our strategic and cooperative defence ties with the US". The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have also threatened criminal sanctions under existing laws against people who criticize the actions these governments have taken against Qatar and its citizens or who have expressed sympathy toward Qatar.

Qatar, a major U.S. ally, has been in the spotlight since four major Arab powers, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed their ties with the country and accused it of supporting terrorism and working secretly with Iran, the arch-foe of the Saudis.

Meanwhile, the Qatar defense ministry said the deal would create 60,000 jobs in the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Salman and Mr Sharif discussed the "latest regional developments" in addition to bilateral relations.

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", Trump said last week.

On Sunday, Morocco said it would remain neutral in the dispute, offering to mediate between the Gulf countries, which are all close allies to the North African kingdom. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism", in an extraordinary escalation of the diplomatic row with one America's most important military partners in the Middle East".

Qatar hosts the biggest United States military base in the Middle East with 11,000 troops deployed to or assigned to Al Udeid Air Base.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said it was fully committed to the Chicago Convention but reserved the sovereign right under global law to take any precautionary measures to protect its national security if necessary, UAE state news agency WAM said.

Earlier this month, the neighbouring countries of Qatar have abruptly ended their diplomatic relationship with the small Gulf state.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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