Despite the rift between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, The United States has struck a deal that would see a $12 billion worth of US F-15 fighters sold to the Gulf nation.

The report by CNN said US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Qatari Minister Of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah had a meeting Thursday where they discussed final stages in the Military Sales purchase of American F-15 fighter jets by the government of Qatar. The purchase is expected to increase Qatar’s capability, improved security cooperation and interoperability between the two allies, a spokesman for Pentagon Lt. Col. Rogers Cabiness briefed CNN.

The military deal

Cabiness said the defense secretary and the minister also considered bilateral security cooperation which includes mode of operations against Islamic State, and the necessity of de-escalating the growing tension in the Gulf region so that all partners and allies can concentrate on the next stage in achieving mutual goals, he added.

The arms deal signifies US longstanding support for Qatar as it struggles to cope with regional isolation and the termination of bilateral trade cooperation by the Arab neighbors.

The announcement comes amid conflicting reactions from the Trump administration in the wake of the rift between Qatar and several Gulf nations.

Tension in Gulf region

Three Arab nations – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha. Qatar is the host to one of the largest US military bases in the region. President Trump said last week that Qatar had to put more effort to fight the funding of terrorist groups.The President said it’s time for Qatar to put an end to funding terrorism.

In contrast, other administration officials have demanded de-escalation of the situation in the region.

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On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson downgraded the suggestion that President Trump on different pages while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee.

US-Qatar defense cooperation

Jim Mattis said the diplomatic situation in the Gulf Region is very complex Monday. He stated that recognizing US military presence and US-Qatar military and defense ties were important.

The defense secretary the US-Qatar ties, adding that both countries had reinforced their military cooperation by having worked together for many years, and now fighting together to end terrorism.

Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs on his own part described the deal as another move in advancing strategic bilateral cooperation with the US.