Qatar announced on Wednesday a five-billion-euro order for seven warships from Italy in the midst of a nearly two-month diplomatic crisis with neighbouring Saudi Arabia and its allies, AFP reports.
“We have signed a contract on behalf of the Qatari navy to acquire seven warships from Italy for five billion euros ($5.9 billion),” foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a Doha press conference with his visiting Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano.
Saudi Arabia and its allies including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of backing extremist groups and being too close to Riyadh’s arch-rival Iran.
Qatar, a key US ally, denies the allegations and accuses the Saudi-led bloc of imposing a “siege” on the tiny emirate. The diplomatic crisis is the worst to hit the region in decades.