US lauds Qatar’s counter-terror efforts
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Qatar is a strong partner and a longtime friend of the US. He urges all parties involving GCC crisis to minimise rhetoric and work towards a resolution.
Qatar’s Deputy PM and Foreign Minister said the nation has been illegally and unjustifiably blockaded, which disrupts joint efforts in providing stability for the region.
DOHA: Terming Qatar a ‘strong partner’ and ‘long-time friend’, the United States yesterday lauded Qatar for its efforts to combat terrorism and asked “all parties” to minimise rhetoric and work towards a resolution of ongoing Gulf crisis.
“Following President Trump’s challenge to our Gulf partners, Qatar has made great progress to improve efforts to combat terrorism. The US and Qatar have increased information sharing on terrorists and their financiers. We look forward to building on this foundation,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the opening session of the high-level Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue at the US State Department in Washington, DC.
Secretary Tillerson said that Qatar is a strong partner and a longtime friend of the US. “We value the US-Qatar relationship. In today’s sessions, we will discuss important areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, security, counterterrorism, energy and aviation.” The US State Department reported through its social media accounts.
“The dispute has had direct negative consequences, economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States,” Tillerson said in the presence of Qatar’s Foreign and Defence Ministers.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis welcomed Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs H E Dr Khalid bin Muhammad Al Attiyah for the strategic dialogue at the US State Department.
On ongoing Gulf crisis, Secretary Tillerson said: “It is critical that all parties minimise rhetoric and work towards a resolution. A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence.”
Al Jazeera reported Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani thanked Tillerson and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis for “taking a just position on the illegal activities of blockading states”.
“Qatar and its people have been illegally and unjustifiably blockaded. This blockade disrupts joint efforts in providing stability for the region,” said Al Thani. Al Thani said Qatar was already investing “more than $100bn in America’s economy including $10bn earmarked for infrastructure”.
“Our countries have shared interests that translate into job opportunities for the American and Qatar people,” he added. Defence Secretary James Mattis said that the US enjoys a longstanding defence relationship with Qatar. “We are grateful to Qatar for their longstanding support to America’s presence and commitment to regional security, including information sharing and counterterrorism training.” Qatar’s Government Communication Office tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Qatar is a reliable US partner and follows through on its commitments.
“The Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue will become an annual event that will continue to enhance the bilateral relationship,” Rex Tillerson also said.
AFP reported that the US praised Qatar for its counterterrorism cooperation and warned that its rift with Saudi and other neighbours has hurt the fight against extremism. “As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark the US remains as concerned today as we were at its outset,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson and Mattis both praised Qatar’s improved cooperation in counterterrorism and praised the military relationship, while expressing the hope that the spat with Saudi would end.
Al Jazeera reported that the two countries announced they would be signing a number of “major” agreements in the sectors of defence, trade, investment and energy. Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane said the statements made by the Qatari and US officials sent a message to three key actors: US President, as well as the leaders of the UAE and Saudi. Tillerson’s remarks, said Culhane, were to indicate that “the US establishment – the secretaries of state and defence – want to see the GCC crisis end”.
They are “sending the message that America cares about this and the crisis needs to be resolved,” she added.
The meeting comes after an announcement on Monday by Qatar’s Defence Minister Al Attiyah that his country intends to expand the American air base that currently houses some 10,000 US military personnel. The expansion at the Al Udeid base will allow for 200 more housing units for officers and their families, Al Attiyah said.
تيلرسون: قطر حققت تقدماً كبيراً في مكافحة الإرهاب
قال سعادة السيد ريكس تيلرسون وزير الخارجية الأميركي، خلال الجلسة الافتتاحية للحوار، إن قطر حققت تقدماً كبيراً في مكافحة الإرهاب.
وأضاف، في الجلسة التي عُقدت بمقر وزارة الخارجية الأميركية بواشنطن، أن بلاده «ملتزمة بسيادة دولة قطر وأمنها»، موضحاً أن الدوحة تعلم أنه يمكنها الاعتماد على الولايات المتحدة لحماية سيادتها.
وتابع تيلرسون: «قطر صديق وشريك قوي وقديم للولايات المتحدة»، مشيداً بتطور ونمو مناخ الاستثمار في قطر. وقال «إن أي مستثمر لديه ثقة كبيرة بالاقتصاد القطري؛ بسبب المؤسسات القوية واحترام العقود الذي يعتبر أمراً مهماً لكل مستثمر». مشيداً بجهود دولة قطر في تعزيز أمن المنطقة ومكافحة الإرهاب.
وحول الأزمة الخليجية، قال وزير الخارجية الأميركي: «من المهم أن تقلل كل الأطراف حدة الخطاب المستخدم وأن تعمل لحل الأزمة، وبقاء مجلس تعاون خليجي قوي يعزز فعاليتنا على جبهات عديدة، خاصة في مكافحة الإرهاب، وهزيمة تنظيم الدولة، ومواجهة انتشار نفوذ إيران».
واعتبر تيلرسون أنه «مع اقتراب النزاع الخليجي من شهره الثامن لا تزال الولايات المتحدة قلقة اليوم كما كانت في البداية، حيث كان لهذا النزاع عواقب سلبية مباشرة اقتصادياً وعسكرياً على أطرافه، وكذلك على الولايات المتحدة».
وأضاف «إننا نشعر بالقلق إزاء الخطابات والدعاية المستخدمة في المنطقة، والتي تبث يومياً في الإعلام ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي».
وأكد أنه من الأهمية أن تقلل جميع الأطراف من حدة الخطاب، وأن تمارس ضبط النفس.