Category: International Relations

President Trump Meets With Qatari Amir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

 

Meeting Transcript

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to have the Amir of Qatar with us.  He’s a friend of mine — knew him long before I entered the world of politics.  He’s a great gentleman.  He’s very popular in his country.  His people love him.  We’re working on unity in that part of the Middle East, and I think it’s working out very well.  There are a lot of good things happening.

Also, we have a gentleman, on my right, who buys a lot of equipment from us.  A lot of purchases in the United States, and a lot of military airplanes, missiles — lots of different things.  But they’ve been great friends in so many ways.  We’re working very well together, and I think it’s working out extremely well.

So, Amir, thank you very much for being here.  Appreciate it.

AMIR AL THANI:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.

AMIR AL THANI:  I’m very happy and honored to be here, and thanks for this invitation.  Our relationship between Qatar and the United States has been more than 45 years.  It’s a very strong, solid relationship.  Our economic partnership is more than $125 billion, and our aim and goal is to double it in the next coming years.

Our military cooperation is very solid, very strong.  As everybody know, that the heart of fighting terrorism is from Al Udeid Base.  And, thank God, it’s been a very successful campaign against the terrorist groups around our region.

Lately, before I come here, I was in Tampa.  I visited the CENTCOM, and we met with the generals.  And it was a very important visit, and it shows how strong our cooperation is between the armed forces.

Of course, we speak today and we see the suffering of the Syrian people.  And me and the President, we see eye to eye that this matter has to stop immediately.  We cannot tolerate — with a war criminal, we cannot tolerate with someone who killed more than half a million of his own people.  And this matter should end immediately.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  And Tamim and I have been working for a number of years now — actually, even before the fact — on terrorism.  And we’re making sure that terrorism funding is stopped in the countries that we are really related to — because I feel related.  But those countries are stopping the funding of terrorism, and that includes UAE; it includes Saudi Arabia; it includes Qatar and others.

A lot of countries were funding terrorism and we’re stopping it.  It’s getting stopped and fast.  Very important.  And you’ve now become a very big advocate, and we appreciate that.

AMIR AL THANI:  Thank you, President.  I want to make something very clear, Mr. President:  We do not and we will not tolerate with people who fund terrorism.  We’ve been cooperating with the United States of America to stop funding terrorism around the region.  We do not tolerate with people who support and fund terrorism.

I would like to also thank the President for him being involved personally in solving the GCC crisis.  He’s been very helpful.  He’s been supporting us during this blockade.  And I would like to also thank the American people for being very supportive.  And his role is very vital to end this crisis in our region.

Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

END

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INTERPA Conference Kicks Off in Doha

On April 2, the Qatari Prime Minister, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani witnessed the opening of the seventh Conference of the International Association of Police Academies and Colleges (INTERPA) in Doha. The three-day conference, titled “New Trends in Combating Terrorism and Extremism,” is being attended by multiple senior Qatari security leaders and INTERPA President Yilmaz Colak, as well as researchers, academics, and security professionals. The conference covers a variety of security topics, including political violence, terrorism, crowd control, and rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

 

Speeches at the INTERPA conference focused heavily on regional and international security cooperation in the form of information-sharing, training, and promotion of best practices. In addition to speeches, multiple security officials and researchers presented academic papers at the conference on topics related to new security and counterterrorism trends. Some of the topics presented on included how computer networks influence terrorist and counterterrorist activity, how the radicalization process has changed in the information age, the psychology of radicalization, and the role of families in counterterrorism.

 

(Source Image: Ministry of Interior – Qatar)

 

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Qatar Fund for Development Assists Mosul Reconstruction

Qatar’s Fund for Development (QFFD) recently signed an agreement that would provide a $3 million grant to assist in the rebuilding of Mosul’s (and surrounding regions’) water handling capacity, infrastructure, and safety. It will be administered in conjunction with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Qatar Red Crescent.

The agreement was signed by the Executive Director of QFFD, Misfer bin Hamad Al Shahwani and UNICEF’s regional director to the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere. The grant is aimed at rebuilding water infrastructure and increasing women and children’s access to adequate and safe water services.

The grant will improve water sanitation and hygiene facilities in area schools and develop a Water Safety Plan for the region. Additionally, it serves to strengthen in the administration and capacity of the Water Directorate in the governorate of Nineveh to provide water resources to the wider region.The grant is part of Qatar’s broader commitment to rebuild Iraq. After a global donor conference, Qatar agreed to donate $1 billion to help Iraq in rebuilding out of a total $30 billion pledged by regional neighboring states.

Director Al Shahwani stated:

“The project also aims at providing children and their families with access to adequate and safe water services, and access to sanitation services in health and education facilities. In addition, it is designed to strengthen the role of the Water Directorate in Nineveh Governorate and build on its capacity to provide integrated water resources”

 

UNICEF Regional Director added:

“The generous contribution from Qatar Development Fund is critical for UNICEF’s efforts to assist children in Iraq, allowing us to increase access to clean water and improve water and sanitation facilities, including in schools and communities affected by the violence in the country”

 

 

 

FACT SHEET: COMBATTING EXTREMISM AT ITS SOURCE

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Human Rights in the Gulf: A Conversation with Dr. Ali Smaikh al-Marri

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) hosted the chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Dr. Ali Smaikh al-Marri. The NHRC was established in 2002 and functions as an independent non-governmental organization. The committee was accredited and awarded an “A” status by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (ICC).

The discussion was moderated by QAI’s Executive Director, Paul Hamill. The discussion focused on two main issues: the impact that the GCC blockade has had on the rights of Qatari citizens and the work being done by the Qatari government to ensure the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

 

Human Rights Violations due to Blockade

Dr. Ali al-Marri highlighted the extent to which the Qatari population has been impacted by the blockade imposed on Qatar by neighboring GCC countries. He expressed that since the imposition of the blockade, his organization had received over 4000 complaints by Qatari citizens in regard to their rights being violated.

Dr. al-Marri also expressed that due to the blockade, families were being separated, property rights were being infringed upon, and freedom of movement had been severely impacted. Dr. al-Marri also highlighted the findings from the recent report published by the UN Human Rights Commission. The report concluded that as a result of the blockade the rights of Qatari citizens and residents were being violated.

 

 

 

 

Migrant Rights

Dr. Ali al-Marri highlighted that his organization, as early as 2004, had been urging the Qatari government to improve the status of migrant rights in the nation. He stated that as a result of both internal and international pressure, the state implemented drastic reforms and has made remarkable strides in improving the lives of migrants and curtailing the violation of migrant rights.

 

 

 

Q&A

Dr. Ali al-Marri addressed multiple questions from the audience regarding the status of Women’s Rights, the involvement of the US in the GCC crisis, and his organization’s firm commitment to preserving & enhancing the state of Human Rights in Qatar.

 

 

 

 

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Qatar’s Foreign Minister Addresses UN Human Rights Council

Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, addressed the 37th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva addressing the blockade imposed on Qatar and human rights violations in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

He called, “upon the Human Rights Council and all its mechanism bodies to take up their responsibilities and stop the unilateral measures taken by some states against the population of Qatar and put an end to this racist course of action.”

The dispute between Qatar and regional states began in June of last year over unfounded allegations of supporting “terrorism.”  In November 2017, the UNHCR released a report addressing the human cost of the blockade. The report concluded that the blockade violates human rights.

The FM stated that, “Victims must be compensated and perpetrators be held accountable.”

FM Sheikh Mohammed also called on the international community to end the violence and killing of civilians in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. As of Feb. 18, the day bombardment began, 550 civilians have been killed so far.

The FM specifically stated that, “There is a legal and moral responsibility of the international community to find a solution of the Syrian conflict based on the UN resolutions.”

 

 

FACT SHEET: CEASING THE ILLEGAL BLOCKADE

FACT SHEET: COMBATTING EXTREMISM AT ITS SOURCE

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Upholding Diplomacy in the Face of Regional Conflict

Munich Security Conference 2018 – HH The Emir of Qatar’s Opening Statement

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, addressed a distinguished audience of global leaders and organizations in Munich. At the Munich Security Conference, the Emir addressed several issues that have the potential to threaten both regional security in the Middle East and international security as a whole:

He stressed that although the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is coming to an end, “the real battle, laying the foundation for peaceful coexistence, has yet to begin.”

Sheikh Tamim praised the model of conflict resolution pursued by European nations through the European Union:

He specifically stated that, “We can mirror efforts of the European Union, its ability to find common ground to rebuild and prosper.” The emir stressed the need for a regional organization in the Middle East that has the capacity to work through fundamental differences in order to alleviate the suffering of peoples that currently exists in countries such as Yemen and Syria.

The emir specifically stressed that extremist ideologies are not specific to the Middle East or any one particular religion. He stated that a continued pattern of state failures has perpetuated the injustices and suffering of peoples in the region. This, the Emir stated, has laid the groundwork for extremism in the region and has allowed it to flourish.

Additionally, the emir praised his nation’s resilience in the face of “a futile crisis manufactured by [regional] neighbors, some of whom are major regional players, once believed to be stabilizing factors on the world stage.”

He added that, “by diffusing the impact of the illegal and aggressive measures imposed on [his] people, Qatar preserved its sovereignty.” He stressed that even small states, employing diplomacy and economic planning, can counter external pressures from larger states.

The Emir stressed that in the face of regional tensions with neighboring GCC countries, Qatar has maintained its initial stance of pursuing diplomacy rather than pursuing reactionary counter measures. He stated that despite the intensity of regional pressure and a complete naval, air, and land blockade the state of Qatar has not missed one shipment of its primary export, Liquefied Natural Gas.

 

 

“Fact Sheet: Ceasing The Illegal Blockade”

“Fact Sheet: Combatting Extremism At Its Source”

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A Bilateral Consensus: Shared Values Between Qatar & the U.S.

Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, Sheikh Meshal Hamad Al-Thani shared his views on the John Fredericks Show live from the Embassy of Qatar in Washington D.C.

The ambassador discussed and highlighted several key views regarding the bilateral relationship between Qatar and the United States. The ambassador stated that he wanted to celebrate the 45 years of relations that the two states enjoy and expressed his desire to strengthen the three main pillars of the relationship: Military Cooperation, Economic Interests, and Shared Political and Cultural Values.

Additional topics that Ambassador Al-Thani was asked about dealt with the origin of the current political conflict between Qatar and other GCC nations and the way forward. The ambassador stated that Qatar is willing to come to the negotiating table and desires to deescalate the situation, given that the nation’s independence is non-negotiable. He highlighted that unity within the GCC was paramount in combatting terrorism and ensuring continued stability within the region.

 

Military Cooperation

The main topic discussed regarding military cooperation was the recent Strategic Dialogue that was hosted by both Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis, along with their Qatari counterparts, Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah.

The ambassador highlighted the fact that 11,000 U.S. soldiers were stationed in the largest foreign American military base (Al-Udeid military base) that is home to US CENTCOM headquarters. Following Saudi requests to have the previous military base moved in 2003, Qatar gladly opened its doors and took part in funding the creation of the base. The ambassador also stated that in response to President Trump’s desire for allies to share the burden, Qatar has decided to expand the military base and continues to actively conduct counter terrorism operations in conjunction with American personnel.

 

Economic Interests

Ambassador Al Thani highlighted the government of Qatar’s commitment to invest $45 billion in America’s infrastructure, firms, and jobs and shared recent economic developments between the two states. He highlighted the recent $80 billion agreement between Boeing and Qatar Airways to acquire additional civilian aircraft to be used by the airline. Furthermore, he shared the nation’s desire to acquire an additional twenty-four F-15’s for the Qatari Air Force. This past June, Qatar and the U.S. signed a $12 billion agreement that would provide 72 of the aircraft to the Qatari military.

 

Shared Political & Cultural Values

 John Fredrick highlighted the fact that major American universities (Georgetown, Cornell, North Western, Texas A & M, et. al.) were present in Qatar and that a majority of the American population was not aware of this aspect. The ambassador responded that Qatar admires and shares American values and because of this chose to partner with American universities in order to promote American culture, both domestically and within the region.

The ambassador stressed that American values regarding education are crucial in combatting extremism. He highlighted the fact that admission to these universities is not only reserved for Qatari’s and American’s, but open to any resident of the region.

 

 

FACT SHEET: THE U.S. – QATAR STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

 

FACT SHEET: A BEACON FOR ACADEMIA – QATAR’S EDUCATION CITY

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Key Quotes On Qatar

Key Quotes on Qatar

“We are grateful to Qatar for their longstanding support of America’s present and continuing commitment to regional security, a commitment that includes information sharing and counterterrorism training… a united Gulf Cooperation Council bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on countering terrorism, defeating ISIS/Daesh, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence. It is thus critical that the GCC recovers its cohesion as the proud Gulf nations return to mutual support through a peaceful resolution that provides for enhanced regional stability and prosperity.”

 Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense

“As a result of the memorandum of understanding our countries signed in July, the United States and Qatar have increased information sharing on terrorists and terrorist financiers. We have participated in counterterrorism technical training and taken steps to improve aviation security. We look forward to building on this foundation and implementing next steps.”

 Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

“As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset. This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States. We are concerned by the rhetoric and propaganda employed in the region, playing out daily in Arab mainstream and social media. It is critical that all parties minimize rhetoric, exercise restraint to avoid further escalation, and work toward a resolution. A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on counterterror – countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence.”

 Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

I think as a follow-on to our trip over there last week, there has been some, I think, positive movement. The Qataris have continued to move forward on the MOU that the U.S. and Qatar entered into to address many of the terrorism, terror financing, counterterrorism concerns that people have, and they have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement. So we’re – I think we’re satisfied with the effort they’re putting forth. I think they also have indicated a willingness to sit with the four parties and negotiate, discuss the demands. I think they have indicated they think it’s important that the sovereignty and dignity of all five countries be respected in those discussions.

And so what – I hope the four countries will consider as a sign of good faith lifting this land blockade, which is really having the most, I think, negative effects on the Qatari people. And that would be a good – I think a good sign if the four countries would do that. And I’m hopeful they’ll consider that seriously.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (21 July 2017)

The base in Qatar is critical. It is the headquarters of the United States Central Command – that’s the four-star headquarters – it has responsibility for US military operations from Egypt to Pakistan, it also what we call our command air operations center which really is the nerve center for all our aviation operations which again extends from Egypt to Pakistan – it’s a very critical base.

General Joseph F. Dunford  Jr. USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (22 July 2017)

I applaud the leadership of his highness the emir of Qatar for being the first to respond to President Trump’s challenge at the Riyadh Summit to stop the funding of terrorism.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (11 July 2017)

 

The agreement which we both have signed on behalf of our governments represents weeks of intensive discussions between experts and reinvigorates the spirit of the Riyadh summit. The memorandum lays out a series of steps that each country will take in coming months and years to interrupt and disable terror financing flows and intensify counter terrorism activities globally. Together the United States and Qatar will do more to track down funding sources, will do more to collaborate and share information and will do more to keep the region … safe.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (11 July 2017)

 

Our partners should remember that Qatar – at our request – welcomed delegations from the Taliban and Hamas, and that Qatar is now home to our military headquarters for our operations throughout the Middle East.

David Petraeus, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former US CENTCOM Commander (03 July 2017)

 

As for the countries that accuse Qatar of financing terrorism, they have the same problems as Qatar, more so, they are on top of the list in that area,” he said. “There are financial institutes in these countries involved in financing terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations in western countries.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Foreign Minister of Qatar (02 July 2017)

 

The United States supports and highly values Kuwait’s efforts to mediate the dispute among Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We share the view that there is a strong need to resolve this dispute as soon as possible through diplomatic dialogue.

Lawrence Silverman, US Ambassador to Kuwait (02 July 2017)

 

Qatar FMInternational law should not be violated and there is a border which should not be crossed. Regarding the demands and our position, we have been from the beginning very clear on this. We are not going to accept anything that infringes on our sovereignty or anything that is imposed on Qatar.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Foreign Minister of Qatar (01 July 2017)

 

The longer the crisis around Qatar continues, the deeper and stronger the lines of conflict will become. We hope that there soon can be direct discussion among all those involved because a further escalation will serve no one.

Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Foreign Affairs (27 June 2017)

 

Behind the smokescreen, we believe that the blockading nations are seeking to isolate and punish Qatar for our independence and to retaliate against us for supporting the true aspirations of the Arab people.

Meshal Hamad Al Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States (11 June 2017)

 

We’ve had good cooperation from all the parties to make sure that we can continue to move freely in and out of Qatar, where we have both an important air base, as well as the headquarters for the United States Central Command.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman (13 June 2017)

 

I believe that (Qatar’s) Prince Thani inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction.

Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense (13 June 2017)

 

I think this incident has proven really that Qatar is a reliable source of energy. Given whatever happened in the last week or two weeks, you know Qatar petroleum has issued a statement just yesterday, clarifying and making sure that people are aware that all the shipments, everything that we have in hydrocarbon and energy sector is working smoothly. We have not missed a single shipment during this time and we have been doing this for the last 20 years so this is as I said that’s still business as usual in the oil and gas industries.

Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Qatar Minister of Finance (12 June 2017)

 

We continue to be grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support for our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security.

Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon Spokesman (06 June)

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Qatar Pledges $1 billion to Help Rebuild Iraq

Washington Post – Kuwait says $30 billion pledged to rebuild Iraq

On Wednesday, February 14th 2018, Qatar pledged to $1 billion in reconstruction aid to Iraq at the Kuwait International Conference of Iraq Reconstruction and Development in Kuwait City.  The Conference of Iraq’s friends and allies, hosted by Kuwait, the World Bank, and the European Union, garnered over $30 billion in reconstruction aid, loans, and direct investments:

A total $30 billion in pledges were made Wednesday at a donor conference for Iraq’s reconstruction after the country’s devastating war with the Islamic State group

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah declared Iraq’s peaceful reconstruction a priority for the region:

This large assembly of international communities that are here today is reflective of the large loss that Iraq withstood in facing terrorism,” Sheikh Sabah said. “Iraq cannot commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq’s side.”

Iraq has been devastated by a years-long fight against violent extremism within its borders:

Of the money needed, Iraqi officials estimate that $17 billion alone needs to go toward rebuilding homes, the biggest single line item offered Monday, on the first day of meetings. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

The war against the Islamic State group displaced more than 5 million people in Iraq, only half of whom have returned to their hometowns.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged all his country’s neighbors to contribute:

“We need to rely on all our neighbors and friends to help Iraq invest in its future,” he said.

FACT SHEET: QATAR COMBATTING EXTREMISM AT ITS SOURCE

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Remarks by Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee Chairman

In an AP interview released February 8, 2018, Mohammed E. Al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee (GRC), announced the committee’s plan to increase financing for its Gaza reconstruction efforts.  He also commented on the GRC’s close relationship with Israel in its mission to promote peace in the region explaining that the GRC works “very closely with Israel…to prevent any more escalation and war,” and that a main goal is to achieve “peace in the region and to help the people.” He further appealed to other donor nations to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza urging “we have to fund as soon as possible.”

 

Jason Greenblatt – the Trump Administration’s advisor on Israel and Special Representative for International Negotiations – later thanked Qatar and the UAE for their help in providing such vital funding in a series of tweets on February 8 and 9th stating “Qatar partnering with Israel can bring real relief to the people of Gaza” and “Some good news for Gaza—regional support for vital humanitarian assistance is mobilizing. Thanks to UAE @OFMUAE and Qatar @MBA_AlThani for these badly needed contributions.”

 

 

 

 

QAI hosted Al-Emadi on January 10th for a high-level dinner discussion on the GRC’s efforts in the Gaza strip.  Between 2012 and 2018 the committee has spent upwards of $400mm in completing and undergoing several projects including the Bin Khalifa residential City which encompasses 116 buildings, and more than 2,000 apartments, the Palace of Justice, several sports facilities and stadiums, a reservoir, more than 40km of roadway, a hospital and rehabilitation center and several other housing complexes.  The GRC works in tandem with other multilateral and international reconstruction groups.  All projects are fully financed through bank transfers in USD allowing them to be fully monitored by the US banking system.  All projects also go through a rigorous planning and approval process with the Israeli government.

 

Discussion points mainly focused on the challenges to operating a construction project in the Gaza strip and possibilities for future improvement in the reconstruction effort.  The efficiency and effectiveness with which the GRC has been able to complete its projects thus far is largely due to good faith cooperation between Qatar and the Israeli government resulting in on-time material arrivals and border crossing efficiencies. Challenges to working in the Gaza strip include uncertainty around electricity supply and obstacles to making reconstruction efforts a Palestinian-owned process.  Unreliable electricity streams are available only 3-8 hours a day, which makes planning difficult and results in higher costs for reliable per-kw coverage.

 

General discussion focused on the opportunity for further collaboration between various Palestinian and Israeli groups to bring people of the Gaza strip what they need to transform their economy into a high-tech economy and inspire innovation. The talk encouraged collaboration on this and several fronts and ended in a positive commitment to the betterment of Gaza’s people.  Al-Emadi reiterated the importance of providing hope to the Palestinian people through development and reconstruction financing and the importance of such funding to the prevention of the spread of radicalism and further violence.

 

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