Despite diplomatic row USA agrees $12 billion arms deal with Qatar

Al Jazeera Blocked

On Wednesday US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed the previously-approved warplane deal with Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah.

Soon after the Gulf countries announced that they were cutting all ties with Qatar, Trump in a series of tweets accused Qatar of supporting "terror" thereby overshadowing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's attempts to remain neutral amid the crisis. This is despite US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of Qatar for supporting terrorism.

"The $12-billion sale will give Qatar a state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the Pentagon said in a statement. It added Mattis and Attiyah had discussed current operations against Isis and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf.

On Wednesday, media reported that Doha would buy United States fighter jets F-15 Eagle worth about $12 billion.

Qatar has signed a $12-billion contract to buy F-15 fighter jets from the U.S., the country's defense ministry reported.

"We ask Qatar, and other nations in the region to do more and do it faster".

The Turkish chief diplomat held talks with Qatar's emir and foreign minister on Wednesday and plans to visit Saudi Arabia.

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".

The Pentagon meanwhile deployed two warships to carry out joint manoeuvres with the Qatari navy in the Gulf.

The UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba said on Tuesday the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt were compiling a list of demands for Qatar that would be "handed over to the United States fairly soon". Kuwait has also been mediating.

Despite Trump's remarks, Pentagon and state department officials have moved to reassure the emirate, which houses the largest USA airbase in the Middle East and the command headquarters for U.S. military operations in the region.

One Qatari source said that the Emirate was purchasing 36 of the F-15 tactical fighter jets in the deal finalized in Washington on Thursday. Riyadh sealed its border, closed its air space to Qatari Airways and - along with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt - severed diplomatic relations.

Taking a dig at Al Jazeera, Doha's news network, he said media and diplomacy is never a substitute for content. "Qatar must stop its role as the platform for extremist narrative and action", he said.

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