Donald Trump signs Qatar arms deal
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 16:12
The sale of the fighter jets "will give Qatar a state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the Defence Department said in a statement.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt broke diplomatic relations with Qatar and implemented a series of economic reprisals after claiming that Doha funded terrorist groups. Qatar is home to the biggest USA military base in the region, with the Al Udeid Air Base home to more than 110,000 US and coalition troops - an important base in the fight against the Islamic State group.
"This agreement underscores the longstanding commitment of the State of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States".
President Trump took the Saudi side - a position quickly countered by the Pentagon, which has praised Qatar for hosting the U.S. airbase and for its "enduring commitment to regional security". "America's support for Qatar is deep-rooted and not easily influenced by political changes", said an unnamed Qatari official in Doha, according to the news agency Reuters.
Qatar's state news agency said on Wednesday that two USA warships arrived at Hamad port in Qatar as part of a planned joint military exercise involving marine forces.
USA officials Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for the crisis to be de-escalated and on Wednesday while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee, said reports. It is said that it will take a maximum 12 hours for a ship to reach Qatar from Iran's southern ports. Qatar says it has pulled all of its troops from the border of Djibouti and Eritrea, East African nations that have a long-running territorial dispute which Doha had helped mediate.
That tensions are rising between Qatar and the other nations, who have their own large fleets of USA warplanes, but this purchase in a totally different context.
However, Trump also met with Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said that Cavusoglu would on Thursday travel on to Kuwait - which is also seeking to solve the crisis - before on Friday holding talks with Saudi King Salman in Saudi Arabia. A total of about 1,200 units of different modifications were made since that time.