Qatar, US agree major deals as emir visits Washington | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, July 12, 2019

Qatar, US agree major deals as emir visits Washington

The US and Qatar have agreed a raft of contracts worth billions of dollars during a visit to Washington by the Gulf state’s emir, including an $8 billion deal on a petrochemical project.

Qatar Petroleum and US energy giant Chevron Phillips Chemical inked the deal to develop a “world class” petrochemical plant in the US Gulf Coast region, Doha’s state-owned petroleum company said Wednesday.

Qatar’s energy minister Saad al-Kaabi and Chevron Phillips Chemical head Mark Lashier signed the agreement Tuesday at the White House.

US President Donald Trump and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attended the signing ceremony held in front of US flags and the Qatari colours, according to an image published by Chevron Phillips Chemical.

The plant, scheduled to be onstream in 2024, will boast the world’s largest ethylene cracker with a capacity of two million tonnes per year, Qatar Petroleum said.

Qatar, home to Washington’s largest Middle East military base, this week hosted US-Taliban peace talks to resolve the Afghan crisis.

Trump and Sheikh Tamim reiterated their “commitment to further advancing the high-level strategic cooperation between our two countries”, according to a joint statement carried Wednesday by Qatar’s official QNA news agency.

“We discussed our extensive and increasing economic partnership, including these mutually beneficial transactions,” they said.

Sheikh Tamim, who arrived in the US on Monday, also met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Security Advisor John Bolton, according to Qatari state media.

Qatar’s defence ministry has committed to acquiring advanced surface-to-air NASAM and Patriot missiles made by US arms manufacturer Raytheon, the statement said, without providing further details.

National carrier Qatar Airways will purchase five Boeing 777 freighters and large-cabin aircraft from US business jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace, it added.

The airline tweeted an image of its chief executive Akbar al-Baker and Boeing chief executive Kevin McAllister signing the deal as Trump and Sheikh Tamim looked on.

The Qatari emir’s visit comes just after the second anniversary of a total boycott against Doha by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, all staunch allies of the United States.

“The US and Qatar are partners, allies, and friends. We look forward to continue that friendship, for the prosperity and happiness of our two peoples,” Sheikh Tamim tweeted.

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