WASHINGTON (CBS) -- While President Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of U.S. weapons.
One part of the deal was inked on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when Qatar's Defense Minister met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an initial cost of $12 billion dollars," read the Qatari Defense Minister's statement on Wednesday afternoon. "We believe that this agreement will propel Qatar's ability to provide for its own security while also reducing the burden placed upon the United States military in conducting operations against violent extremism."
The Qatari ambassador to the U.S. tweeted a photo of the signing.
Qatar signs LOA for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets creating 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States pic.twitter.com/tnOAC3KGma— Meshal Hamad AlThani (@Amb_AlThani) June 14, 2017
The State Department describes this sale as fermenting U.S. efforts to "strengthen the security and defense architecture of the region." They point out that it does not directly conflict with the current regional dispute as it will take years to complete and fill the sale in full.
"We are confident that Qatar can address its remaining issues within this timeframe, prior to delivery," explains a State Department official.
Qataris had scheduled Wednesday's trip to formalize portions of this arms deal with the U.S. government about two months ago, according to Qatari and State Department officials. They want these weapons. So, despite growing tensions and Mr. Trump's repeated hardline stance against their support of Iran and regional terrorist groups, the Qataris came because they want the weapons.
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