Analysis

Second U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue Reaffirms Alliance, Strengthens Ties

On January 13th, 2019 the United States and Qatar held the Second U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Doha under the theme “Forward Together.” Chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the dialogue focused on: regional security and defense cooperation, education and culture, law enforcement and counterterrorism partnerships, commercial and energy cooperation, and labor issues.

This year’s Strategic Dialogue builds on the historic achievements of the First U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, in Washington, D.C., in which Qatar and the U.S. agreed to landmark cooperation in several areas.

A Joint Statement produced by the U.S. and Qatar details the outcome of the dialogue, progress made in key policy areas, and the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Statements of Intent (SOIs) to advance mutual cooperation.

Full Remarks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at a Press Availability (01/13/2019)

Full Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (01/13/2019)

Below is a summary of key developments from the Joint Statement produced at this year’s U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue:

 

Officials reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing senior-level engagement:

Qatar and the United States expressed strong support for the expansion of bilateral relations evinced by high-level meetings in 2018 between: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah; and an exchange of other minister-level visits to Washington and Doha. These high-level diplomatic engagements highlight the two nations’ shared commitment to advance cooperation and promote global peace and prosperity.

 

The U.S. recognized Qatar’s role as a leader in global humanitarian assistance and development:

The United States acknowledged Qatar’s generous humanitarian role bilaterally and multilaterally through the work of various UN agencies, in the form of a $500 million multi-year assistance pledge, including $8 million annually between 2019 and 2023 to support forcibly displaced populations, and assist refugees including millions of vulnerable young children and women.

 

Both countries reiterated the essential role the U.S.-Qatar defense partnership serves in international security:

Qatar and the United States emphasized the vital contribution their defense partnership provides for the security and stability of the region. This strong and lasting partnership is key to successfully combating terrorism, countering violent extremism, and deterring external aggression. U.S. officials lauded Qatar’s contributions in supporting the strategic U.S. military presence in Qatar under the U.S. Central Command.

 

Three key developments in defense were announced:

  • The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation to promote peace and stability and counter the scourge of terrorism.
  • The United States welcomed Qatar’s generous offer to expand critical facilities at bases used by U.S. forces in the country and to align operating procedures at these bases with NATO standards, thereby increasing the operational capability of U.S. and coalition forces based in Qatar.
  • The U.S. and Qatar signed an MOU enabling deeper coordination on potential expansion at Al Udeid Air Base. Qatar’s offers to fund capital expenditures and sustainment affords the possibility of a more enduring U.S. presence.

 

The U.S. recognized Qatar’s commitments to defeat radical extremism, prevent terrorism finance, and to support U.S. anti-terrorism efforts:

The United States thanked Qatar for its continued efforts to counter terrorism, counter the financing of terrorism, and prevent violent extremism in all forms. Both sides intend to strengthen their security and counterterrorism (CT) partnership to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism. The United States welcomed Qatar’s commitment to provide $75 million over five years to the work of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, including its efforts to help Member States develop and implement advance passenger information and passenger name record systems in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2396.

 

The forward progress made on several counterterrorism agreements, including the July 11, 2017 MOU on Counterterrorism, was reviewed:

They reviewed the positive progress made under the terms of the MOU on Counterterrorism signed on July 11, 2017, and the second bilateral CT Dialogue convened in Doha September 5, 2018, including the 2018 Joint Action Plan to implement provisions on border security, information sharing, countering the financing of terrorism, anti-money laundering, aviation security, cybersecurity, and judicial capacity building.

 

A Memorandum of Understanding in education was signed by Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister bin Abdulrahman Al Thani:

The U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani signed the MOU in the field of education to continue building and sustaining key partnerships in the fields of: primary, secondary, and higher education; English and Arabic language instruction; student advising; promoting academic exchange; and facilitating a wide range of study abroad options that enable students to achieve their personal and professional goals.

 

Qatar and the United States welcomed the role of U.S. companies in Qatar’s development and of Qatari investment in U.S. firms and jobs:

The Qatari delegation outlined successful implementation of reforms designed to attract foreign investment in Qatar, including free trade zones and expanding business ownership for non-citizens. Both countries also underscored their commitment to boosting trade and investment and noted the growing strength of bilateral trade relations.

Qatar confirmed that the United States is its top import partner, representing 18% of all imports to Qatar in 2018.

The two governments recognized Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) previous commitment to invest $45 billion in American firms, real estate, and jobs. QIA Chief Executive Mr. Mansour al-Mahmoud described plans to increase Qatari investments in American infrastructure.

 

Closing statement:

The United States and Qatar emphasize the importance of their continued partnership which benefits the interests of both countries, as well as the security and prosperity of the Gulf region.

This Strategic Dialogue process underlines the commitment of Qatar and the United States to increase cooperation in fields that provide the greatest mutual and practical benefit. Such cooperation includes the issues discussed today but also incorporates important work in the fields of health, food safety, intellectual property rights, nuclear safeguards and more. Qatar and the United States remain committed to dialogue and long-term cooperation on political issues, consolidating state-of-the-art defense facilities, combating terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms, countering the financing of terrorism, expanding their trade and investment partnerships, and enhancing educational and cultural cooperation.

To expand partnerships and advance mutual policy goals in those areas, the two sides agreed to hold the first working group in April of 2019. Qatar and the United States look forward to reviewing progress in these areas at the next Strategic Dialogue in Washington in 2020.

 

(Image Source: Middle East Monitor)

Full Joint Statement: Second U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue
First U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue
Qatar Expands Airbase Capacity
Qatar’s Strategic Role within NATO’s Resolution Support Mission

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