Qatar Purchase of US Fighter Jets Not Escalating Diplomatic Row - Turkish FM

"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".

Pakistan has been treading a careful path since Saudi and other Gulf countries snapped diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing the oil-rich country of supporting terrorist groups.

The Pentagon justified the massive sale by saying the jets-reportedly 39 of them-would increase "security cooperation" between the two countries.

The U.S. military announced a similar $21.1 billion deal in November, in the waning days of the Obama administration, for 72 F-15QA fighter jets for Qatar, the Associated Press reported.

A deal for the "state-of-the-art" F-15 fighter jets was signed by Qatar in Washington, which has sent conflicting signals to its longtime ally in the crisis that has seen Saudi Arabia and its allies impose sweeping sanctions on the emirate.

Al Attiyah noted that the signing of the agreement is "yet another step in advancing our strategic and co-operative defencse relationship with the United States and we look forward to continuing our joint military efforts with our partners here in the US".

Qatar has signed a $12-billion contract to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States, the country's defense ministry reported.

The US vessels docked in Hamad Port, south of the capital Doha, on Wednesday, the Qatari defence ministry said.

Taking a dig at Al Jazeera, Doha's news network, he said media and diplomacy is never a substitute for content. "Qatar must stop its role as the platform for extremist narrative and action", he said.

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

Turkey and Qatar have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a broad movement whose Islamist goals are anathema to Egypt's ex-military president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and to numerous Gulf's dynastic rulers. Kuwait has led efforts to mediate the dispute.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday the crisis between Qatar and some Arab countries should be resolved "through peace and dialogue". He's also due to travel to Saudi Arabia. Mattis has described Qatar as "moving in the right direction", while USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson called for Arab Gulf nations to remain united.

Turkey is also eager to maintain workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's foe with whom Doha's critics say Qatar maintained excessively close ties.

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