UK and Qatar sign defense deal

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The governments of Qatar and the UK have agreed a new defense deal, with the gulf state promising to purchase 24 fighter jets.

The agreement is given greater significance by Qatar’s ongoing isolation and the UK’s drive to sign trade agreements ahead of its exit from the EU.

  • On 17 September, UK defense secretary Michael Fallon and his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, signed a Statement of Intent for the sale of 24 Typhoon jets.
  • This is the first defense contract between the UK and Qatar, which Fallon said will be “the basis for even closer defence co-operation”.
  • In early June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an economic blockade on Qatar and froze diplomatic channels. They allege that Qatar has given financial backing to extremist groups including Al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.
  • In June, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged Qatar to address its neighbours concerns and crack down on support for extremist groups. He also called on the other Gulf states to de-escalate tensions.
  • Lobbying group Campaign Against the Arms Trade says that it is concerned that following its exit from the EU, the UK will become more reliant on arms sales.
  • In June, Qatar agreed a US$12 billion deal to purchase fighter jets from the U.S., a week after President Donald J. Trump appeared to show support for the blockade in a tweet.
  • Trump will meet Qatari Emir  Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the UN General Assembly meeting this week.
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