The U.S. this week agreed to sell $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar, a Middle Eastern peninsula country on the Persian Gulf.
A Pentagon spokesman gave CNN the following statement: “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,” said Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness.
Cabiness added, “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,” according to CNN.
“This agreement underscores the longstanding commitment of the State of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States,” al-Attiyah said in a statement from the Qatari Defense Ministry, according to CNN.
The U.S. and Qatar had “solidified their military cooperation by having fought together side by side for many years now in an effort to eradicate terrorism,” he said, and this deal is “yet another step in advancing our strategic and cooperative defense relationship with the United States.”
The sale signifies U.S. support for Qatar, which has been faced with criticism and isolation in recent weeks.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Egypt, recently moved to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.
One of the Pentaton’s largest military bases in the Middle East is in Qatar. However, President Donald Trump seemed to agree with the move of those countries cutting ties with Qatar.
Trump recently called on Qatar to stop funding terrorism, especially as other nations are fighting against it.
“We have to stop the funding of terrorism,” Trump said.