Qatar signs $17b deal for United States jets amid Gulf crisis

Turkish FM Qatar

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khalid Al-Attiyah finalized the $12 billion agreement at the Pentagon on Wednesday, following nearly a year of negotiations and deliberations that involved the US Congress.

"We want this to be resolved through dialogue by the end of Ramadan. We pay a great attention to our relations with them", he said.

That deal was worth an estimated value of $21 billion.

The U.S Congress agreed a year ago to sell fighter jets to Qatar while the latest deal came after a recent Gulf crisis began between some Arab states and Qatar.

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Two U.S. warships arrived at Hamad port in Qatar as part of a planned joint military exercise involving marine forces, Qatar's state news agency said on Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May urged the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar on Thursday to take steps to reduce tensions that have led the Arab world's biggest powers to cut ties with Qatar.

A Saudi-led blockade imposed against Qatar raised fears of a food crisis in Qatar, as most of its supplies come from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar hosts the regional headquarters for the US Central Command, which includes a state-of-the-art airbase that the US depends on to target the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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On Friday, the Turkish foreign minister is expected to visit Saudi Arabia and share Turkey's "sincere views" on the crisis during a meeting with Saudi officials.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by telephone with his Omani counterpart, Oman state news agency reported.

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.

Trump, who took office in January, has accused Qatar of being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism, potentially hindering the State Department's efforts to help ease the diplomatic crisis.

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The sale "will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the Defense Department said in a statement.

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