Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Qatar signs $12-bln deal with USA for 36 F-15 jets

Qatar signs $12-bln deal with USA for 36 F-15 jets

Gulf states transport ministers and aviation officials kicked off a meeting on Thursday at the United Nations aviation agency's headquarters in Montreal to discuss the airspace standoff resulting from the Arab world's biggest powers decision to cut ties with Qatar.

It added that US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Qatar's Defence Minister Khalid al-Attiyah had also discussed the current state of operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.

Congress approved the sale of as many as 72 F-15s last November in an agreement valued at up to $21 billion.

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

"We've obviously got shared interests with Qatar". Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were the three countries which hosted the largest number of Nepali migrant workers in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

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. The F-15 accord will lead to "closer strategic collaboration in our fight to counter violent extremism and promote peace and stability in our region and beyond", the ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

Saudi Arabia and allies have imposed a political and economic "blockade" on Qatar, in protest at Doha's support for Islamist extremist groups as well as over its ties to Shiite Iran.

"Pakistan has told Saudi Arabia it will not take sides in the brewing diplomatic crisis in the Middle East [West Asia] after Riyadh asked Islamabad "are you with us or with Qatar"," the paper said.

Cavusoglu held talks in Kuwait with his counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah on Thursday to push mediation efforts aimed at resolving the dispute.

The Pentagon meanwhile deployed two warships to carry out joint manoeuvres with the Qatari navy in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last week and accused it of supporting terrorism and regional unrest. More than 100 aircraft operate from there.

One of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the private talks, said the airspace dispute would be hard to resolve because it is a symptom of a larger row between the countries.

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