Remarks by Secretary Esper at an Enhanced Honor Cordon Welcoming Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Al Attiyah to the Pentagon

Nov. 6, 2019
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper; Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid Al Attiyah

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MARK T. ESPER: Well, good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us. It was my pleasure to host the defense minister from Qatar. Minister Khalid and I had a very good – good discussion sharing our views on the region, reassuring him of our partnership together in terms of everything from deterring Iran to defeating ISIS. And so we had a – a very good round of talks, and I also thank him for the incredible partnership that has resulted in – in Qatar hosting many of our – thousands of our – our troops in – in the country, and it's deeply appreciated, the – the support they give to us.

So thank you again, sir. Good discussion.

QATARI MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEFENSE AFFAIRS DR. KHALID AL ATTIYAH: Good afternoon, everyone. As Secretary Esper says, a – a pleasure to meet you today. We have touched and discussed all the excellent strategical relation with the United States, and I want to thank him for the, you know, the votes, the brave men and women in al Udeid Air Base in Doha. We discussed about our agreement and our training exercise together; and in fact, we have in Qatar 360 degrees of relation with the United States. It's not only the military-to-military, which is excellent, but we have an education and healthcare and commerce. So, I want to thank you for your good friendship.

SEC. ESPER: Thank you.

STAFF: And we'll take one question. Elizabeth.

Q: Yeah. Mr. Secretary, do you support exoneration of Gallagher, Golsteyn, and Lorance?

SEC. ESPER: I'm not going to comment on that. As you know, I'm a – in the chain of command and I'm very conscious of my remarks. But I do have full confidence in the military justice system, and we'll let things play out as they play out.

Q: Would you prefer to have those play out within...

STAFF: Thanks, guys.

Q: ... the – the military justice system?

SEC. ESPER: I'm not going to comment any further until decisions are made.

STAFF: Thanks, guys.

Q: When are you speaking to the president on this?

STAFF: Guys...

SEC. ESPER: I – I had the chance to – to have a – a robust discussion with the president yesterday, and I offered, as I do in all matters, the – the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations, and we'll see how things play out.

Thank you all.