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Remarks by Acting Secretary Shanahan at an Enhanced Honor Cordon and Meeting Welcoming Qatar's Minister of Defense Dr. Khalid Attiyah to the Pentagon

March 12, 2019
Acting Secretary Of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan; Qatar's Minister of Defense Dr. Khalid Attiyah

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PATRICK SHANAHAN:  OK.  Everybody in here?  Good morning.  How are you?  Good.  This is our other special team.

(UNKNOWN):  Yeah.

MR. SHANAHAN:  Let's see.

Your Excellency, welcome back to the Pentagon.  It's wonderful to see you.  And we're glad to host you after your last visit here in November with Secretary Mattis.

I'm proud to continue the close, longstanding military partnership between our two nations.  We in the Department of Defense are grateful for Qatar's leadership in the Gulf region and beyond.

Qatar hosts thousands of U.S. troops at Al Udeid Air Base.  Qatar contributes significantly to NATO's mission in Afghanistan.  Qatar is also a top foreign military sales partner.

Your Excellency, I understand your visit includes stops at U.S. assembly lines producing some of the hardware that helps secure Qatari and U.S. interests.

We appreciate Qatar's investment in American jobs.  Thank you for your commitment to maintaining an interoperable force with the United States.

We all know the U.S. and Qatar have a close defense relationship.  And we are growing that relationship, from tactical exercises to collaboration on strategic initiatives, to defense institution building.

Your Excellency, thank you for coming.  You are welcome here.  And I look forward to our conversation.

MINISTER OF DEFENSE DR. KHALID ATTIYAH:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  On behalf of myself and my colleague, I would like to thank you, and through you to thank the United States for the friendship we have together.

And as you mentioned, Qatar believes strongly in our friendship and in our strategic relation.  And we intend, with His Highness, the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, to continue this relationship and to cement it together.  

Thank you.

MR. SHANAHAN:  Very good.  Thank you very much.

MIN. ATTIYAH:  Thank you very much.

MR. SHANAHAN:  Good.  Good.  Hey, good morning.

Q:  Mr. Secretary, if we could ask you, on budget day, the State Department budget is much smaller and shrinking compared to the Department of Defense.  Is -- do you agree with that decision by the president's F.Y. '20 request?

MR. SHANAHAN:  You know, I spoke with Secretary Pompeo this week.  He's confident that he'll have the resources that he needs to perform his duties.

Q:  Mr. Secretary, has President Trump discussed with you the possibility of nominating you to be the formal secretary of defense?

MR. SHANAHAN:  You know, the president speaks with me about defense matters and we have many ongoing discussions.

And today, we're going to roll out the budget, so it should be a good week.  And then later, I have the chance to talk with the Senate Armed Services Committee about not just the budget, contents of the budget, and then ongoing operations.

So good to see all of you.  Thanks for joining us this morning.