Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Qatar signs $12-bln deal with USA for 36 F-15 jets

Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:50

The Pentagon did not provide additional details on the sale but Bloomberg reported it could include as many as 36 warplanes.

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

The sale will increase security cooperation and interoperability between the U.S. and Qatar, the Pentagon said.

Qatar is an important base for the US military carrying out operations against Islamic State militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.

The Turkish leader has urged Saudi Arabia to reduce tensions and lift sanctions.

Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported the arrival of the vessels on Wednesday, the same day that Qatar signed an agreement for the purchase of F-15 fighter jets from the USA with an initial cost of $12bn. Boeing Co is the prime contractor on the fighter jet sale to the Middle East nation.

Qatar has expressed its frustration at not receiving specific demands from the Saudi alliance, complicating efforts to reach a diplomatic solution.

Mattis formerly oversaw US Central Command whose forward operating base is the vast al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar - a hub for the global campaign against the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

The USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in February.

The United States agreed a $12-billion warplane sale to Qatar and began manoeuvres with its military Thursday, re-affirming support for the emirate in the throes of a diplomatic crisis with its neighbours.

"U.S. 5th Fleet ships conduct similar port visits throughout the region as part of our normal operations", Urban said.

Qatar is facing a severe economic and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies who cut ties last week.

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have always been major proponents of open-skies air transport agreements which remove restrictions on flying between states.

"Are you with us or with Qatar?".

The U.S Congress agreed past year to sell fighter jets to Qatar while the latest deal came after a recent Gulf crisis began between some Arab states and Qatar.

"We are friends, we've been friends now for a long time, haven't we?"

Gargash tweeted Qatar's reputation has been damaged and said it is important that Doha makes a U-turn before it's too late.

Qatar on Thursday said that preparations for the 2022 World Cup were unhindered, having secured alternative supplies of construction materials to those that had been coming by land from Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, Turkey and the United States 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. The UAE has also made a decision to blacklist Qatari individuals and entities. But its cutoff air travel routes remain problematic.

Typically, Qatar Airways flights to the West flew over Saudi Arabia. "We must lay these out in order to solve this problem", he said.