Qatar signed a multi-billion-dollar deal today to buy 24 Typhoon fighters from Britain, its second major defence agreement this week, which comes during the worst political crisis in the region for years.
The USD 8-billion deal was signed in Doha by Qatar’s Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah and his British counterpart, Gavin Williamson.
Williamson said it was the biggest order for Typhoons in a decade, and it follows a billion-dollar deal signed by Qatar on December 7 to buy 12 French Dassault Aviation warplanes.
“These formidable jets will boost the Qatari military’s mission to tackle the challenges we both share in the Middle East, supporting stability in the region and delivering security at home,” said the British minister.
The deal also includes an intention for Qatar to buy further military equipment from Britain, namely the purchase of Hawk aircraft.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by the two countries for this Typhoon contract in September.
Qatar is the ninth country to sign a deal for Typhoon jets, said London. Sunday’s deal comes at a politically sensitive time for both countries.
There are heightened tensions in the Gulf, where a Saudi-led boycott of Qatar is in its seventh month.
Since June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have diplomatically isolated Qatar, accusing the emirate of supporting Islamist extremists and of being too close to Shiite Iran, Riyadh’s arch-rival.
The four countries also cut off all air and sea links to Qatar.
Qatar denies the allegations and has accused the Saudi-led bloc of aiming to incite regime change in Doha.
It is the latest agreement in a growing list of defence deals signed by Qatar since the crisis erupted.