U.S. President Donald Trump gave a warm White House welcome Tuesday to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, while recognizing the country’s extensive military partnership with the U.S. and billions of dollars in purchases from American companies, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
“They are investing very heavily in our country. They’re creating lots of jobs. They’re buying tremendous amounts of military equipment, including planes,” Trump said.
Five commercial agreements were signed. Qatar Airways is buying five Boeing 777 Freighters and large-cabin aircraft from Gulfstream Aerospace and plans to use General Electric Co. jet engines to power its Boeing aircraft.
The White House also said the Qatari Defense Ministry will buy a missile defense system from Raytheon. In addition, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Qatar Petroleum have agreed to jointly develop an $8 billion petrochemical plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The price tags on the other deals - including some that have been previously announced - were not disclosed, but those familiar with the transactions said they totaled tens of billions of dollars.
Qatar is home to the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command. The sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base is home to some 10,000 American troops. Last month, nearly a dozen Air Force F-22 stealth fighters were deployed there in response to intelligence reports of heightened Iranian threats against American forces in the region. The F-22 Raptors were sent to the base, which is a hub for U.S. air operations in the Middle East.
“They built one of the great military bases I would say anywhere in the world. It’s just been expanded with runways and everything else,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, Acting Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Pentagon Tuesday to reaffirm the strategic security partnership between the United States and Qatar, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said.
The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, including the importance of burden sharing, Qatari support to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and the Gulf rift.
Secretary Esper thanked the Emir for the Qatari offer to improve Al-Udeid Air Base and for hosting U.S. forces. He also reiterated the U.S. commitment to ongoing security cooperation for peace and stability in the region, Hoffman added.