Giovedi, 24 Mag, 2018

U.S. naval warships arrive in Qatar

Parmenio Sano | 18 Giugno, 2017, 04:20

"Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis met today (Wednesday) with Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalising the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar", Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN.

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.

Since then, Saudi Arabia has struggled to maintain relations with Qatar and Turkey who support terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. 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 President Donald Trump and his administration.

"The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding" of extremist ideology, he said.

As you know, a number of Arab countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

"We are confident that Qatar can address its remaining issues within this timeframe, prior to delivery", said a State Department official, according to the CBS News. A senior administration official told Reuters earlier last week that the USA had no prior indication from the Saudis or Emiratis during Trump's visit that they would sever ties with Qatar.

Qatar is a key American ally in the Middle East and an important exporter of natural gas.


Qatar's ambassador to the United States, Meshal Hamad al-Thani, posted a picture of the signing ceremony on Twitter.

The Pentagon has retained close ties with Qatar throughout the regional dispute, reflecting the fact that Qatar hosts the largest United States base in the region. They instead pretend that they are strong enough to take on two of the biggest military powers in the world: the United States and Saudi Arabia.

President Trump took the Saudi side - a position quickly countered by the Pentagon, which has praised Qatar for hosting the U.S. airbase and for its "enduring commitment to regional security".

Also on Wednesday, two USA naval warships sailed into Doha to take part in joint military exercises with the Qatari navy.

It was unclear if the arrival of the two warships to Doha was planned before the Gulf rift or if it was a sign of support from the Pentagon.

At a Washington news conference with Tillerson on Wednesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir denied the sanctions amounted to a blockade, insisting it was the kingdom's sovereign right to close its airspace to Qatari aircraft and seal the emirate's sole land border. Its regional feeder flights in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also have been cut off. Bahrain and the UAE have also made illegal expressions of sympathy for Qatar.

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