Qatar will purchase Boeing F-15 fighter jets worth an estimated US $12billion, an agreement to this effect was concluded by Qatari Minister of Defence Khalid Al Attiyah and his US counterpart Jim Mattis in Washington DC on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported quoting Qatar News Agency (QNA).
The agreement comes at a time when US President Donald Trump has spoken out against Qatar in its showdown with a Saudi-led group of Middle East nations who have accused it of financing terrorist activities.
Attiyah was quoted by QNA as saying the agreement underscores the "longstanding commitment of the state of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States in advancing our military cooperation for closer strategic collaboration in our fight to counter violent extremism and promote peace and stability in our region and beyond".
The deal is "yet another step in advancing our strategic and cooperative defence relationship with the United States, and we look forward to continuing our joint military efforts with our partners here in the US", said Attiyah.
The sale "will give Qatar a state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the Defence Department said in a statement.
The sales comes just weeks after Trump signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for almost $110bn in US arms. Saudi is one of the biggest operators of F-15 fighter jets in the Middle East and has been accused of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas using bombs mounted on its F-15s.
The number of F-15 planes for Qatar and the weapons to be mounted on them is not yet known. This is the second big ticket aircraft procurement by Qatar following the 2015 purchase of 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France.
The US State Department has approved sale of F-15QA aircraft with weapons and related support, equipment, and training to Qatar for an estimated $21.1 billion
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