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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 280-96
May 14, 1996

U.S. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT DEPLOY TO QATAR

Following consultations with the government of Qatar and other states in southwest Asia, the Department of Defense announced today that the Air Force will deploy 34 aircraft to Qatar as part of an Airpower Expeditionary Force. The AEF, scheduled to deploy beginning in late June, will include Air Force support equipment and aircraft as follows: F-15s from the 4th Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina and the 33rd Wing, Eglin AFB, Florida; F-16s from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB, South Carolina; and KC-135s from the 319th Aerial Refueling Wing, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.

The AEF will provide additional land-based air forces to augment regional assets while at the same time giving the Air Force an opportunity to work and train with coalition partners in the region. The AEF deployment is temporary and should be completed near the end of August 1996.

This decision comes out of the detailed talks at the Pentagon on Friday, May 10, 1996, between U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani who jointly agreed on this important expansion of the already extensive military cooperation between the two governments.

In their meeting, Secretary Perry reaffirmed to Sheik Hamad the United States' commitment to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the State of Qatar and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and to continue to maintain a substantial American military presence in the Arabian Gulf.

The AEF currently deployed to Jordan will return to the U. S. by the end of June.

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