Qatar signs $12 billion deal with US to buy F-15 jets even as tensions escalate between Gulf nations

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 was completed despite the Gulf country being criticized recently by US President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.

Representational image. WikiMedia

Representational image. WikiMedia

"Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis met on Wednesday with Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalising the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Roger Cabiness told CNN.

"The $12 billion sale will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the US and Qatar."

"The secretary and the minister also discussed mutual security interests, including the current status of operations against Islamic State, and the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals," Cabiness added.

The announcement comes after a week three Gulf countries — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — along with Egypt moved to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, host to the one of the Pentagon's largest military bases in the Middle East, after claiming that Doha funds terrorist groups.

More Arab and Muslim-majority African countries later joined the diplomatic blockade, even as several powers have called for resolving the crisis.

In November, the United States approved possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1 billion. Boeing is the prime contractor on the fighter jet sale to the Middle East nation.

Boeing declined to comment. Trump on Friday accused Qatar of being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism, potentially hindering the US Department of State's efforts to ease heightening tensions and a blockade of the Gulf nation by Arab states and others.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 11:27 AM

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