All seven warships will be built in Italian shipyards, with construction starting in 2018.

The Qatari foreign minister did not name the Italian companies involved, but In June last year, Italy's state-controlled shipbuilder Fincantieri said it had signed a four billion euro deal to build ships for Qatar.
The Qatari foreign minister did not name the Italian companies involved, but In June last year, Italy's state-controlled shipbuilder Fincantieri said it had signed a four billion euro deal to build ships for Qatar.

Qatar has concluded a $5.91 billion (€5 billion) deal with Italy for seven navy vessels, the Qatari foreign minister said on Wednesday, in the midst of a nearly two-month diplomatic crisis with neighbouring Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurrahman al Thani made the announcement at a news conference with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in Doha after talks about efforts to end a rift between Qatar and four Arab states.

"I am pleased to announce the conclusion of a deal between the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces to buy seven naval units from Italy in the context of the joint military cooperation between the two countries," Sheikh Mohammed said.

In June last year, Italy's state-controlled shipbuilder Fincantieri said it had signed a $4.7 billion (€4 billion) agreement to build ships for Qatar.

At the time Fincantieri said it would supply the Gulf Arab state with four corvette warships, two support vessels and an amphibious landing platform dock, along with support services in Qatar for 15 years after delivery.

All the ships will be built in Italian shipyards, with construction starting in 2018, it said. Italian defence company Leonardo would supply electronics and weapons systems for the ships and receive around a third of the value of the deal, a company official said at the time.

Qatar is embroiled in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which cut their diplomatic ties with the Gulf state and imposed economic sanctions last month.

Source: Reuters