Amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a number of its Gulf neighbors, the US has agreed to sell $12 billion worth of American F-15 fighters to the country.
"Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met today with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalizing the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar. The $12 billion sale will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN in a statement.
"The secretary and the minister also discussed mutual security interests, including the current status of operations against ISIS, and the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals," Cabiness added.
The sale of US combat aircraft represents a major signal of US support for Qatar as it faces regional isolation and the severing of travel and trade links. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Qatar's Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday the country signed the deal, Reuters reported from Doha June 15.
Agence France-Presse said the agreement took the form of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), and Bloomberg News reported the deal covered 36 aircraft.
The F-15QA version selected by Qatar is similar to the latest F-15SA version that Boeing has just begun delivering to Saudi Arabia.)