07 Apr 2018 – 8:51
Doha: Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Commander of United States Central Command Joseph Votel yesterday held an expanded meeting at MacDill Air Force Base.
The meeting was attended by members of the official delegation accompanying H H the Emir and a number of Qatari military leaders of the military attache of the State of Qatar’s embassy in Washington.
On the American side it was attended by Deputy Commander of U S Central Command Lieutenant general Charles Brown, Chief of Staff of U S Central Command Major General Terry Ferrell, Director of Intelligence Brigadier General Karen Gibson, and a number of ranking Air Force and Marines officers.
H H the Emir listened at the outset of the meeting to a summary from the Central Command on the coalition’s role in the region.
The meeting discussed the scope of strategic bilateral military and defence cooperation, in light of the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation that was announced during the first United States-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in February and its role in coordinating counter-terrorism efforts.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments.
Afterwards, H H the Emir visited the Special Operations Command Central, and listened to an overview of the most notable operations run by the command.
The Commander of US Central Command expressed his thanks to H H the Emir and appreciation to the State of Qatar’s pivotal role in countering terrorism and in promoting stability in the region through Al Udeid Air Base and through the joint cooperation with the US in that regard.
For his part, H H the Emir said that the strategic cooperation between the State of Qatar and the US was strong and will continue to be so in all fields, governed by the joint interests of the two countries and the friendly peoples.
H H the Emir added that increasing the strategic bilateral cooperation is crucial to counter-terrorism efforts and for enhancing peace and stability in the region. The meeting also saw a review of strategic military, security, and defence ties and how to advance them. It also focused on the two countries’ counter-terrorism efforts.
Earlier, the Emir arrived yesterday in Tampa, Florida, on the first day of an official visit to the United States that lasts several days.
Upon arrival at MacDill Air Force Base, H H the Emir and the accompanying delegation were greeted by Commander of the US Central Command General Joseph Votel, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States H E Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as a number of senior officers of the US Central Command, and members of the military attache at the Qatari Embassy.
H H the Emir will meet with President Donald Trump of the friendly United States of America, on April 10, in Washington DC, at the invitation of the US President.
H H the Emir and the US President will discuss means of enhancing and developing strategic relations between the two countries in various fields, in addition to a number of regional and international issues of common interest.
The Emir yesterday arrived in Miami, where he met with a number of US officials within the framework of strengthening the Qatari – US relations in the economic, trade and investment fields.
The programme of the Emir’s visit to Washington includes meetings with a number of Ministers, Members of the US Congress and senior officials.
The visit of H H the Emir to the US is new step on the road of the two countries’ strategic cooperation, and of strengthening the links between them according to a shared vision to serve their common interests, and it contributes to the regional stability and security and global peace, QNA reported.
The visit comes at the invitation that H H the Emir has received via a telephone call from US President Donald Trump in February, during which they reviewed the strategic relations between the two friendly countries and means of consolidating them to serve their common interests.
Although the areas of cooperation between the Qatari and US sides cover many economic, military, security, cultural and other sectors, the visit is an appropriate opportunity to review what has been achieved in this regard during the last period, and what the officials of the two countries aspire to, in terms of opening new horizons for cooperation and strategic partnerships between the two countries, thus providing more fruitful opportunities and mutual benefits for them especially in the economic, investment and military sectors.
The visit of HH the Emir to the US comes at a time when Qatar has succeeded in addressing the unjust siege imposed on it, as well as in breaking and defeating, in light of the support of the international community for the Qatari position, which insists on resolving the Gulf crisis through dialogue and peaceful means, far from conditions and dictates, while the siege countries have failed to provide any evidence of its accusations against the State of Qatar on supporting terrorism because such evidence does not exist at all, not to mention that Qatar is the first country to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United States to combat the financing of terrorism. The Emir’s visit also comes amid reports that the US-Gulf summit at Camp David will be postponed to September instead of next May.
The State of Qatar, represented by HH the Emir, goes to Washington with firm and clear positions, open heart for dialogue and understanding and an extended hand for peace and cooperation on bases mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of others and common interests consistent with the principles of international law.
There is no doubt that the issues of the Arab region, especially the Palestinian cause, the Syrian crisis and the situation in Yemen will be part of the agenda that will be discussed during the talks of HH the Emir in the United States.
It is certain that maintaining regional and international peace and security is a priority in the foreign policy of the State of Qatar, which is based on the principles and objectives to the Charter of the United Nations and the rules of international legality that call for constructive cooperation among states, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, good-neighborliness, promoting peaceful coexistence and peaceful means of settling disputes.
The Qatari diplomacy and its various initiatives have earned the respect and appreciation of the American side and many other countries and international organizations and institutions, as Doha plays a prominent role in mediation initiatives, conflict resolution efforts, attempts to reconcile conflicting parties and help formulate solutions and political agreements for crises.
Qatar has always had excellent relations with various US administrations through mutual visits and at the highest levels. HH the Emir visited Washington in February 2015 and met President Donald Trump in New York on September 19, 2017. During the meeting, they discussed regional and international issues, particularly the Gulf crisis and the efforts exerted to resolve it through dialogue and diplomatic channels.
On 30 January, the governments of the two countries held their first strategic dialogue in Washington, DC, which marked a milestone in the bilateral relations as well as the course of developments in the region, especially as it resulted in increased consensus and convergence in the strategic visions between the two countries and reiterated the need for them to remain allies and close friends.
Within the framework of the strategic dialogue, the two governments issued a joint statement on security cooperation, reaffirming their commitment to promoting peace and stability and combating the scourge of terrorism. The United States expressed its willingness to work jointly with Qatar, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to deter and counter external threats to the territorial integrity of the Qatari soil.
This strategic dialogue underscored that the link between Qatar and the U.S. is a strategic partnership that Washington has not held with any Arab country, a partnership that includes politics, economy, investment, as well as security, military and defense cooperation.
Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida, Carlos A Gimenez, at the Mayor’s office. The meeting saw a review of bilateral cooperation and the means to enhance them in different fields, particularly in trade and investments.
The Dialogue also shows that Qatar and the US plan to strengthen military relations within the framework of the 2040 Vision, which include hosting the US Navy and strengthening the Al Udeid Base of many to become a strategic base in the region.
The State of Qatar and the United States discussed the Gulf crisis and underscored the need for an immediate solution in a way that respects the sovereignty of the State of Qatar. The two Governments expressed concern about the damaging security, economic and humanitarian impact of the crisis and expressed concern about peace and stability in the Gulf and about adherence to international law. The State of Qatar appreciated the role played by the United States in mediating the conflict in support of the efforts of H H the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
On the economic level, the US is the sixth largest trading partner of the State of Qatar as the volume of trade between the two countries reached about $6 billion in 2016, in addition to the presence of more than 120 US companies operating in Qatar, especially in the field of energy. Qatar has also announced a plan to invest $45bn in the US. Moreover, in June 2017 the two sides signed a military agreement to purchase ‘F-15’ fighter jets, at an initial cost of $12bn. Qatar and the US have succeeded to establish a strong link in the field of education and culture, as six US universities have opened branches in Education City in Doha.
The visit of HH the Emir to the U.S. is very important by all local, Arab and international standards. It will constitute a new shift in relations of cooperation and coordination with the United States. The outcomes of the visit will have positive repercussions for the consolidation of bilateral relations with the American side in various fields, for Qatari government and people, for the peoples of the region and for international security and stability.