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Qatar signs $17b deal for USA jets amid Gulf crisis

Qatar signs $17b deal for USA jets amid Gulf crisis”

"It is confusing, and the worst thing you want to do in a heated, delicate situation like this is to give mixed messages", Dr Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, said of the Pentagon announcement.

"We encourage all our partners in the region to work towards common solutions that enable regional security", Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said in a statement when the crisis began.

The US has signed a $12bn (£9.4bn) arms deal with Qatar, despite Donald Trump's claim that the country is a "high-level funder" of terrorism.

Just in November a year ago, USA has approved a possible sale of F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1 billion where it can get upto 72 fighter aircrafts.

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Last week, five Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen - cut off ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

WASHINGTON: The sale of 36 US F-15 jets to Qatar is "more of a procedural" move than a "political" one, a United States defense analyst told Arab News, adding that defense and security ties between Doha and Washington remain integral to American interests.

Qatar hosts an important base for the U.S. military carrying out operations against ISIL and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is due to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday in an attempt to help solve the crisis.

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Turkey and Qatar have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a broad movement whose Islamist goals are anathema to Egypt's ex-military president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and to numerous Gulf's dynastic rulers.

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to ease their blockade of Qatar on Monday.

Qatar's main port was also bustling with ships bringing food supplies and construction materials, witnesses said.

A statement to CNN from the Pentagon says the agreement will "increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar". It added that Mattis and Attiyah had also discussed the current state of operations against Islamic State and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf.

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