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U.S. approves $300mn guided missile deal with Qatar

11 April 2018

President Donald Trump Tuesday applauded Qatar's efforts to stop funding terrorism, almost a year after accusing the Persian Gulf country of funding extremism at a "high level".

The pair also "discussed obstacles to restoring unity in the Gulf Cooperation Council", the statement added, a clear reference to the diplomatic feud between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

But the U.S. president has since softened his language against Doha and praised its counter-terrorism efforts. "It's getting stopped and fast - very important".

Qatar has sought to stress its role as a reliable and agreeable US partner in a strategically vital region.

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Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani (L) and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis (R) wait for a meeting at the Pentagon April 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. "I don't understand how a government that turns a blind eye to terrorism while simultaneously using its state-run media apparatus to undermine the president gets an Oval Office meeting". The country hosts some 10,000 USA troops at al-Udeid Air Base, a key command center for US forces in the Middle East, and has been building new facilities for US troops there at Qatari expense in a bid to make it more comfortable for the Americans. Over the months, the Trump administration has pushed for a resolution to the crisis, especially after an early effort to mediate a resolution lost momentum. "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" he said last June. When the dispute began 10 months ago, Trump sided with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and neighbors who accused Qatar of spreading extremism, fomenting regional unrest and allowing funds to flow to terror groups. Qatar denies all those charges.

On the sidelines of the event, Sheikh Hamad al-Thani also said that "Qatar Taxi will pursue several strategic partnerships with ministries and authorities in addition to launching a wide range of offers to meet the needs of the society".

The so-called Salwa Marine Canal project would be funded by Saudi and Emirati investors and dug by Egyptian companies with experience in the Suez Canal. The canal, estimated to cost 2.8 billion riyals ($750 million), would stretch 200 meters (656 feet) wide and up to 20 meters (66 feet) deep.

U.S. approves $300mn guided missile deal with Qatar