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Turkish FM: Qatar Wants An End to Crisis

Turkish FM: Qatar Wants An End to Crisis

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah signed a letter of agreement on Wednesday for a $12-billion sale of US-manufactured F-15 fighters, the Pentagon said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are standing their ground on Qatar not interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and ending support to extremist groups as UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash said the solution to the crisis lies in Riyadh.

As the Saudi-led bloc moved against Qatar, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's attempts to remain neutral were overshadowed by a series of heavy handed Tweets from Trump, in which he accused Qatar of supporting "terror". It added Mattis and Attiyah had discussed current operations against Isis and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.

In November, the United States approved the possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA jets to Qatar worth $21.1-billion in the waning days of the Obama administration.

The deal comes just weeks after Trump signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for nearly $110 billion in U.S. arms. Boeing, the prime contractor on the sale, declined to comment.

The Qatari Defense Ministry also issued a statement regarding the F-15 deal.

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Otaiba said the four nations are seeking to force a change in Qatar's behaviour through economic and political pressure.

Qatar is also home to Al-Udeid, the USA military's largest base in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Bahrain severed ties and transportation links with Qatar last week, in an unprecedented move created to punish it for supporting extremist groups in the region as well as its close relationship with Iran. Mattis formerly oversaw the USA military's Central Command, whose forward operating base is at the vast al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. More than 100 aircrafts operate from the base.

Trump told reporters in the White House on June 9: "The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level", he said.

U.S. officials Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for the crisis to be de-escalated and on Wednesday while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee, said reports.

"Saudi Arabia has the potential and capability to solve this crisis as a wise state and big brother of the region and also as a major actor", Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Wednesday.


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