The State of Qatar has signed a new €5bn deal with the Republic of Italy to purchase seven Italian naval vessels for the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces (QENF).

The deal was announced at a joint news conference in Doha, which was attended by Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.

Al Thani said: “We have strong political and economic relations with Italy, and important cooperation in defence and security fields, along with the continued political consultation between the two countries.”

The deal has been struck amidst Qatar’s diplomatic crisis with the four neighbouring nations, which saw the countries lay siege to the State of Qatar.

Qatar has been affected on both economic and humanitarian levels by the crisis, and officials have accused the siege nations of imposing illegal measures against the country.

The Qatari minister noted that the deal follows the signing of the Letter of Award (LoA), which took place in Rome on 16 June 2016 within the framework of a military cooperation programme between the two nations.

"The Qatari minister noted that the deal follows the signing of the Letter of Award (LoA), which took place in Rome on 16 June 2016."

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri previously signed a €4bn contract with the Qatari Ministry of Defence to construct the seven vessels for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces in June 2016.

The deal will see Fincantieri build and deliver an additional four 100m-long corvettes, one amphibious landing platform dock and two offshore patrol vessels.

Leonardo-Finmeccanica will be responsible for the integrated supply of the vessels' combat systems.

The company will also provide the main radars, on-board sensors and defence sub-systems, including 76 / 62 medium-calibre and 30mm small-calibre weapon systems, anti-torpedo protection solutions and Thesan mine-avoidance sonars.

MBDA was also contracted to supply Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles, Aster 30 Block 1 and VL MICA air defence missiles and operational capabilities for the new naval units last year.

Image: Qatar concludes deal with Italy for the purchase of seven Italian naval vessels. Photo: courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.