British-made Typhoon fighter jets bought last year by Qatar will be delivered in time to help provide security for the 2022 World Cup, Britain’s ambassador in Doha has said.
Ajay Sharma told reporters on Tuesday at his residence in the Qatari capital that the jets will be ready for the World Cup.
“We wouldn’t give a precise date but what we can say is that by the time of the World Cup, Qatar will have Typhoons.” Sharma said.
“We certainly see the Typhoons as part of securing the World Cup and I think the Qatari authorities certainly see it in that way,” Sharma said.
In December Qatar signed an $8 billion deal with Britain for 24 Typhoon jets.
At the same time, the two countries agreed to create a Joint Operation Squadron using both of their air forces.
It is this joint flight group that will provide air security for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the tournament.
The defence deal comes at a politically sensitive time for both countries.
For the past 10 months, Qatar has been politically and economically isolated by a group of states led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The bloc – which includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – accuses Qatar of promoting terrorism and seeking better ties with Riyadh’s regional rival Iran.
Qatar, which vehemently denies the accusations, has claimed the boycotting countries have considered invading Doha to resolve the crisis.
Sharma stressed that the UK has been supporting efforts to end the crisis.
“The UK’s interest in resolving this issue has not changed, and it is in our interest to preserve the unity and cohesion of the GCC,” he said.
“Our desire for a solution has not disappeared, and our interest in supporting the efforts to resolve it remains strong. We will continue to seek solutions for everyone.”
Doha’s purchase of the jets is one of a number of defence deals Qatar has signed with countries including the US, Russia, France and Italy since the crisis began.
For Britain, the Typhoon deal is notable as it seeks global trade deals while negotiating its exit from the European Union.