08/03/2017, 10.10
QATAR - ITALY
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Doha to buy seven warships from Italy for 5 billion euros

The contract signed by Fincantieri will give work to around 1000 Italians. 40 Italian companies operate in Qatar. Boosting national defense, at the expense of the Saudi-led regional system "Gulf Shield".

Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Qatar announced yesterday a $ 5 billion deal for seven warships to be built in Italy. The announcement took place in the presence of Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (see photo) and his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano.

The ships - four corvettes, one amphibian and two patrol vessels - will be built by the Fincantieri and will give work to about a thousand Italians.

The news given with enormous publicity emerges at a time when Qatar is suffering from a diplomatic crisis with four Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt), which have also decided to close their airspace and trade relations. The great publicity is probably aimed at being a message to the international community: the country, albeit embargoed by its neighbors, still has the ability to honor commitments on the world market.

More than 40 Italian companies are active in Qatar for a volume of trade that exceeds $ 5 billion.

A preliminary contract with Fincantieri was signed in June 2016. In June this year, in the wake of a crisis that broke out on the 5th of the month, Qatar also signed a contract with the United States for the sale of about 36 F-15 fighter aircraft , worth $ 12 billion.

By boosting national defense the country wants to distance itself from a regional defense system, the "Gulf Shield", that is under Saudi leadership.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and entertaining relations with Iran, a rival in Riyadh in the Middle East. They also demand that Qatar close the Al Jazeera television channel, dismantle a Turkish military base in Doha, limit its relations with Iran.

Qatar accuses them of violating its sovereignty and presented a complaint two days ago to the World Trade Organization stating the embargo imposed by its opponents "violates the fundamental laws and conventions of trade, goods, services and aspects related to the trade in intellectual property ".

The conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as commercial and political, also has a religious veil: Doha supports the Muslim Brotherhood, an radical but modern Islam; Riyadh supports Wahhabism, a fundamentalist and bellicose Islam. Both are marked by a desire for "revenge" on the West, even with violent means, inspiring the militants of the Islamic State.

So far, it is unknown what Italy will give in return for the contract signed yesterday.

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