Fighter jets deal shows deep U.S. support


In Washington, Qatari Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah met Wednesday with U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and signed a deal for F-15 fighter jets it described as being worth $12 billion.

Congress previous year approved the sale of as many as 72 F-15s in an agreement valued at as much as US$21 billion, providing authorisation for the deal that was completed on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Bahrain severed ties and transportation links with Qatar last week, in an unprecedented move created to punish it for supporting extremist groups in the region as well as its close relationship with Iran.

Speaking on Qatar's $12bn deal with the U.S. to buy F-15 fighter jets, the minister said "just like other country, like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, is natural for Qatar to buy airplanes or parts necessary for its own defense".

"Although the kingdom is a party in this crisis, we know that King Salman is a party in resolving it", the Turkish minister said. Trump told reporters in the White House on June 9: "The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level", he said.

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". This comes just days after the US President publicly condemned Qatar for supporting terrorism.

"We want to hear the views of Saudi Arabia regarding possible solutions and will share with them our views in a transparent way".

Qatar remains the home of some 10,000 American troops at a major US military base in the Mideast.

The Pentagon said the jets sale would increase security cooperation between the United States and Qatar and help them operate together.

The US vessels - the USS Chinook and the US coastguard cutter Baranof - docked in Hamad Port, south of Doha, according to the US 5th Fleet based in neighboring Bahrain - one of the countries to have frozen ties with Qatar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also promised to continue supporting Qatar amid a diplomatic row engulfing that Gulf state.

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.

But the shortages have eased with Turkey and Iran shipping in meat, fruit and vegetables. He's also due to travel to Saudi Arabia.