Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Turkish FM urges peace, dialogue in Gulf crisis

Pentagon agrees $12 billion jet deal with Qatar Lee O. Tucker U.S. Air Force via Getty Images
Debra Rodriguez | 20 June, 2017, 00:10

Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years. This is despite US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of Qatar for supporting terrorism.

The Pentagon indicated in its statement that the new weapons deal, which includes the sale of F-15 fighter jets, will increase security cooperation between the two countries.

United States and Qatar signed an agreement to purchase the last American F-15 fighters worth $ 12 billion.

The deal comes just weeks after Trump signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for nearly $110 billion in United States arms.

The Qatari Defense Ministry also issued a statement regarding the F-15 deal.

The sale will increase security cooperation and interoperability between the US and Qatar, the Pentagon said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Speaking to Anadolu Agency during a visit to Qatar's capital, Doha, amid a diplomatic row in the Gulf region, Çavuşoğlu said the efforts by Turkey so far and the future steps to be taken were discussed during his meetings with several top Qatari officials.

Qatar is an important base for the USA military carrying out operations against Islamic State militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.

Qatar is also home to Al-Udeid, the U.S. military's largest base in the Middle East.

Cavusoglu held talks in Kuwait with his counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah on Thursday to push mediation efforts aimed at resolving the dispute. Around 11,000 troops have been deployed at Al-Udeid Air Base, which also operates over 100 aircraft.

Five Eastern countries - Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen - broke off ties with Qatar, hoping to isolate the country politically and economically, punishing Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism.

Last Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House press conference that "Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level".

Typically, Qatar Airways flights West flew over Saudi Arabia.

On June 5, PGCC members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, announced their decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar and install an air, land and sea blockade.

HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah signed the agreement in Washington with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.

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