Donald Trump sells Qatar $12bn of weapons days after accusing it of funding terrorism

Qatar is currently isolated within the region by neighbours which accuse it of sponsoring terrorism

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The Independent US

The US has sold Qatar $12bn (£9.4bn)-worth of fighter jets just days after President Donald Trump accused the country of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism.

The deal was signed off by the US Defence Ministry and reportedly included 36 F-15 combat aircraft. 

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah met on Wednesday to seal the agreement, according to one source familiar with the deal.

“Qatar and the United States have solidified their military cooperation by having fought together side by side for many years now in an effort to eradicate terrorism and promote a future of dignity and prosperity,” Mr al-Attiyah said in a statement. 

The Pentagon claimed the sale would increase security cooperation between the US and Qatar. 

Mr Mattis and Mr al-Attiyah discussed the current state 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, the Pentagon added in a statement following the deal. 

In November, the US approved the possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1bn (£16.5bn), but it was unclear whether this was the same transaction.

Boeing Co is the prime contractor on the fighter jet sale to the Middle East nation, but declined to comment.

It comes after Mr Trump accused Qatar of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism on Friday, potentially hindering the US Department of State's efforts to ease heightening tensions and a blockade of the Gulf nation by Arab states and others.

Qatar remains the home of some 10,000 American troops at a major US military base. So far, the dispute between Doha and nations led by Saudi Arabia has yet to shake that partnership, though cracks are showing in responses from Mr Trump and his administration. 

Mr Trump's accusations that Qatar is involved in the funding of terrorist groups was one of the main allegations made by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain when they initially cut diplomatic ties on 5 June. 

Additional reporting by agencies

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