US Seals $300m Missile Sale Deal With Qatar
The US approved a deal to sell Qatar guided missiles worth $300m. The Gulf state is a strong ally of US and holds its air base in the Middle East.
The emir met US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday and is due to meet Trump on Tuesday. His visit comes after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducted a three-week US visit.
Earlier, Trump appeared to be siding with the Saudi led bloc in the crisis. However, he withdrew and tried to act neutral.
“We had a decision to make, do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action,” Trump said in a news conference on 9 June last year. “We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided… the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding.”
As a warm-up to the emir’s visit, the State Department approved the sale of 5,000 Advance Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) to Qatar, including 5,000 high explosive warheads.
“Qatar is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Persian Gulf region,” the State Department said in a statement.
“Our mutual defence interests anchor our relationship and the Qatar Emiri Air Force plays a predominant role in Qatar’s defence.”
During the Saudi prince’s visit, the US government confirmed more than two billion dollars in arms sales to the kingdom.