Wed, 17 Jul 2019

WASHINGTON DC - The U.S. has swept aside the impasse between several of its allies and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, and signed a number of agreements which will cement busiess ties between the two countries.

Qatar, which is home to some of the richest gas fields in the world, and which boasts the richest population in the world on a per-capita basis, has been at odds with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Libya and a number of other countries, since those countries implemented a blockade against it around two years ago. Those countries are all strong allies of the U.S., as is Qatar which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

While the Gulf countries and their allies continue to rebuff Qatar, the U.S. is expanding its relationship.

Deals signed on Tuesday are in the areas of defense, aeronautics and energy.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani sealed the deals in a signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.

"It's a great honor to be with the emir of Qatar, a highly respected man, a real leader in a large part of the world and a very important part of the world. And we've known each other a long time. We've been friends for a long time," President Trump said prior to the signing.

"They're investing very heavily in our country. They're creating a lot of jobs. They're buying tremendous amounts of military equipment, including planes. And they're buying commercial planes, as you know, very large numbers of commercial planes from Boeing. And we very much appreciate it."

Qatar Airways which has been blocked from flying over the airspace of its former Gulf allies, and has been banned from operating in those countries, has shown no sign of being weakened by the blockade as it has agreed to buy five Boeing 777 freighters, and has signed on to buy even more Gulfstream large-cabin aircraft than it had on order.

Qatar Airways has also agreed to use General Electric jet engines and services to power its fleet of Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft.

Chevron-Phillips are doing a deal with Qatar Petroleum for the two to joint-venture a petrochemical complex in Qatar.

Raytheon's medium-to-long range NASAM and long-range Patriot Systems surface-to-air missile systems will be bought by the Qatar defense ministry as part of another deal.

The value of the deals signed on Tuesday was not disclosed. Trade between the two countries is currently around $185 billion however, and the emir at one point said the countries were looking to double their current volume of trade.

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