Doha: Qatar signed a multi-billion-dollar deal Sunday 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 $8-billion (6.8-billion-euro) 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.
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 Doha of supporting Islamist extremists and of being too close to Iran, Riyadh’s arch-rival.
The four countries also cut off all air and sea links to Qatar.
For Britain, the deal is notable as well as it searches for major global contracts during negotiations for its withdrawal from the European Union.