WASHINGTON, United States (Kurdistan24) – The United States on Wednesday signed a deal with Qatar for the sale of F-15 fighter jets from Washington worth USD $12 billion, Qatar’s Ministry of Defense said.
The deal was completed amid criticism from United States President Donald Trump that the Gulf country supports terrorism.
The arms deal contradicts President Trump’s recent remarks about Doha, warning them of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism.
Washington’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was expected to meet several Qatari representatives on Wednesday to finalize the deal, a source told Reuters.
The same source revealed the deal included nearly 36 fighter planes.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab, and a few other nations cut political ties with Qatar last week, accusing the country of backing terrorists.
Qatar dismissed the assertions against it, adding the decision from its neighboring countries to sever diplomatic ties was “unjustified” and had “no basis in fact.”
Qatar is home to the largest US air base in the Middle East, Al-Udeid.
The air base houses nearly 10,000 troops and plays a pivotal role in the US-led operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
A Qatari official said the fighter jets deal was “proof that US institutions are with us, but we have never doubted that” Reuters reported.
“Our militaries are like brothers,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying. “America’s support for Qatar is deep-rooted and not easily influenced by political changes.”
The deal comes weeks after Washington agreed to sell Saudi Arabia over $100 billion worth of weapons.
Editing by G.H. Renaud