Trump signs Qatar weapons deal despite terrorism claims

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis welcomed his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah to Washington on Wednesday for the signing of the agreement for the sale of F-15 fighters. According to Bloomberg News, Qatar has signed to buy 36 F-15 jets.

Two warships of the US Navy arrived at the Hamad Port in Doha on Wednesday "to participate in a joint exercise with the Qatari Emiri Navy", the Qatari Ministry of Defence said in a statement released on QNA. Qatar is the host to one of the largest USA military bases in the region.

On Wednesday, media reported that Doha would buy USA fighter jets F-15 Eagle worth about $12 billion.

The agreement signed in November gave way to $21.1 contract to be executed by Boeing Co.

Qatar is an important base for the USA military carrying out operations against Islamic State militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.

He stated that recognizing US military presence and US-Qatar military and defense ties were important. "We ask Qatar, and other nations in the region to do more and do it faster".

"We call upon the International Civil Aviation Organization to declare this an illegal act".

Qatar long has been trying to secure its relations with the USA, whether through hosting the American military base or an office for the Taliban, said David B Roberts, an assistant professor at King's College London who recently wrote the book Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State.

This week, the disconnect between what Trump says and what the Trump administration does became even more obvious.

Despite these allegations, Qatar is a crucial ally to Washington in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are expected to announce what they want Qatar do to in return for ending their isolation of the tiny Gulf nation, according to a Gulf official with direct knowledge of the matter. Ankara has also sent planeloads of food to Qatar, which had been dependant on imports from Saudi Arabia. This comes after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar. But its cutoff air travel routes remain problematic.

Typically, Qatar Airways flights to the West flew over Saudi Arabia.

Qatar is asking the ICAO council to resolve the conflict, using a dispute resolution mechanism under the Chicago Convention, which governs airspace usage and is overseen by the U.N agency.

"I am also extremely troubled to hear that the UAE and Bahrain are threatening to jail and fine people who express sympathy for Qatar or opposition to their own governments' actions, as this would appear to be a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression or opinion", he said.

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