Qatar, US sign $12 b military deal amid gulf crisis

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah signed a letter of agreement on Wednesday for a $12-billion sale of US-manufactured F-15 fighters, the Pentagon said.

This is despite US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of Qatar for supporting terrorism.

The $12 billion deal comes after President Trump denounced Qatar as being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism on Friday, causing confusion about the USA stance on the crisis.

According to Bloomberg News, Qatar bought 36 warplanes produced by McDonnell Douglas, a subsidiary of Boeing.

The Pentagon said the jets sale would increase security cooperation between the USA and Qatar and help them operate together.

Despite the diplomatic crisis going on between Qatar and a number of its Gulf neighbors, the United States has agreed to sell $12 billion worth of American F-15 fighters to the country.

Qatar remains home to some 10,000 American troops at a major United States military base in the Mideast. While the two sides are far apart at the moment, there are positive signs they're willing to reach a conclusion and want Kuwait to continue to mediate, the official said, adding that Turkey was also helping.

Kuwait, Turkey and the USA have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their air space to Qataris and blocking import routes.

He also praised the U.S. -Qatar relationship, saying the two countries had "solidified their military cooperation by having fought together side by side for many years now in an effort to eradicate terrorism".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia's King Salman to resolve the rift with Qatar before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to an interview with Portuguese state broadcaster RTP on Thursday.

The crisis between Qatar and some Arab countries should be resolved "through peace and dialogue", Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said June 14.

Three Arab nations - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha.

Typically, Qatar Airways flights to the West flew over Saudi Arabia. But with that airspace now closed off, the airline is flying longer routes over Iran and Turkey.

"We are receiving reports that specific individuals have already been summarily instructed to leave the country they are residing in, or have been ordered to return home by their own government", Hussein said.

The move has been backed by nations including Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt and others.



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