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Qatar goes ahead with $12bn USA fighter jet deal despite Trump's criticism

19 June 2017

The Bloomberg News quoted a Defense Department statement as saying that Qatari Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah and his US counterpart, Jim Mattis, completed the $12 billion agreement on Wednesday in Washington.

In the midst of a burgeoning crisis in the Middle East, the president is condemning Qatar for allegedly funding terrorism, while Trump's Pentagon sells Qatar billions of dollars in fighter jets. Bloomberg says the deal is for 36 jets.

The purchase is expected to increase Qatar's capability, improved security cooperation and interoperability between the two allies, a spokesman for Pentagon Lt. Col. Rogers Cabiness briefed CNN.

Mattis and Attiyah also discussed the US-led military campaign against the Islamic State group and "the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals".

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Amid the blockade and growing food shortages, Qatar is home to an estimated 10,000 American troops and the largest USA base in the Middle East. Qatar's Defense Ministry said the F-15 deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 us states in addition to easing the burden on us forces in the region. It is home to 10,000 American troops and a major American military base that acts as the center of USA operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Given the high volume of food production in Iran and the current restrictions placed on Qatar, we are fully ready to provide the Arab country with its required food supplies", he added.

"Qatar long has wanted to make itself a particularly important ally for America where it can", Roberts said, referring to the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mattis formerly oversaw the US military's Central Command, whose forward operating base is at the vast al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Erdogan said he had never witnessed Doha supporting terrorism, adding Turkey "will continue to give all kinds of support to Qatar". However, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the U.A.E.in a collective statement has accused 59 individuals and 12 charity organisations in Qatar of being "linked to terror".

Mr Trump's comments appeared at odds with the US Department of Defence, which had praised Qatar's "enduring commitment to regional security" just days earlier.

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Qatar had asked the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to intervene after its Gulf neighbors closed their airspace to Qatar flights.

Bahrain and the UAE have also banned expressions of sympathy for Qatar. Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is home to more than 11,000 USA and coalition troops.

Cavusoglu held talks in Kuwait with his counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah on Thursday to push mediation efforts aimed at resolving the standoff between a Saudi-led alliance and Qatar.

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