US agrees to sell $12bn worth of fighter jets to Qatar despite ongoing crisis

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.

CNN reports that in a statement, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness said

 “Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met today with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalizing the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar. The $12 billion sales will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar. The secretary and the minister also discussed mutual security interests, including the current status of operations against ISIS, and the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goal, he added.

This sale is simply a major show of support for Qatar as it faces regional isolation and the severing trade and travel relationships. This comes after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,  UAE, and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar. President Donald Trump had seemed to back the move, saying that Qatar had to do more to stop funding of terrorism. 

“The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding,” Trump said.

Rex Tillerson while before the House foreign affairs committee downplayed any suggestion the President is on a different page saying concerning Qatar “there is no daylight between he and I”.

Qatars defense ministry celebrated the deal in a statement issued Wednesday.

“This agreement underscores the longstanding commitment of the State of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States”.

Al-attiyah also praised the relationship between the United States and and Qatar saying both countries  “solidified their military cooperation by having fought together side by side for many years now in an effort to eradicate terrorism.”.

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