Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper welcomed Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Pentagon today for talks on the situation in the Arabian Gulf.
The United States and Qatar have a long-standing and multifaceted strategic security partnership based on a shared commitment to peace and stability in the region.
"The United States relationship with Qatar is stronger than ever," Esper said as he opened discussions with the emir. He noted that Al Udeid Air Base is a strategic installation in the country. Qatar hosts the Combined Air Operations Center for the region there, and U.S. units routinely fly missions from the base.
Esper thanked the emir for his support to American service members stationed in the country. "Qatar's long-standing willingness to host United States forces is emblematic of the close ties between our two countries," he said.
The bilateral relationship must remain resilient in the face of the evolving threats in the region, the acting secretary said. "We are grateful for Qatar's efforts to de-escalate the tension," he said. "The United States is asking like-minded nations to join together to preserve freedom of navigation and deter provocative acts. We appreciate Qatar's willingness to support our initiative to increase maritime domestic domain awareness in the Gulf."
The Qatari leader said it is a difficult time in the region, "but by working together, we can find the ways and right means to de-escalate the tension we have in our region."
The U.S. Defense Department and Qatar's Defense Ministry have common approaches to addressing regional defense and security issues including combating terrorism and deterring criminality in the Arabian Gulf. In January, DOD and the Qatari armed forces signed a nonbinding Memorandum of Understanding for Qatar's support to DOD activities at Al Udeid that promotes interoperability, supports regional stability and reaffirms the U.S.-Qatar defense relationship.
Qatar supports the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and U.S forces participate in joint exercises and conduct port visits in Doha, Qatar.