By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III held wide-ranging talks with Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a Pentagon meeting Monday.
The Amir also met with President Joe Biden later Monday.
“The U.S. defense partnership with Qatar is strong, and it serves as a cornerstone for our strategic relationship,” Austin said at the beginning of the meeting with the Amir.
Qatar hosts American troops that help ensure peace in the region.
Qatar also helped the United States in its efforts in Afghanistan. “We couldn’t have evacuated more than 124,000 people from Afghanistan without your help at Camp As Sayliyah and Al Udeid [Air Base],” Austin said. “You welcomed with open arms those who left Afghanistan to find a new beginning.”
Austin travelled to the Persian Gulf in September to specifically thank allies in the region for their help saying their actions had saved thousands of lives. Qatar is still helping. “After our last C-17s departed, your airplanes continued to fly out those who were seeking a better life,” he said.” Your Highness, you’ve really stepped up as a reliable partner and a trusted leader.”
But the region is still dangerous. Iran continues efforts to destabilize the Gulf countries and sponsor proxy groups. The secretary mentioned increased threats from terrorism, missiles and unmanned aerial systems attacks. The answer to these threats is a “new era of partnership in which we tackle shared threats through multilateral efforts and where operations are more integrated,” he said. “This cooperation will allow our defense relationships with partners like Qatar to continue to grow stronger, and I know that Qatar and the United States stand together in ensuring security and stability in the region. We share the same objectives. We want to resolve conflicts and provide humanitarian aid to civilians in need, and to de-escalate tensions.”
Sheikh Tamim told Austin that Qatar is proud to host the Americans at Al Udeid Air Base and touted the partnership between the two countries. “We’re going to continue working together to help bring security and stability in the region, and I’m sure with this close partnership and this great relationship, we will be able to do so,” he said.