Esper Welcomes Qatari Emir to Pentagon for Talks

July 8, 2019 | BY Jim Garamone

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.

Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper walks up stairs with another man.
Taking Steps
Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper meets with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the Pentagon, July 8, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190708-D-SV709-0286Q

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.

Aircraft fly in formation.
Stratofortress Formation
Qatar Emiri Air Force Mirage 2000s fly in formation with a U.S. B-52H Stratofortress and U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs, May 21, 2019. The flight was aimed at building military-to-military relationships between the United States and Qatar.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Keifer Bowes
VIRIN: 190521-F-XN348-0239B

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."

Two military police speak.
Spartan Patrol
Air Force Master Sgt. Jordan Barnes speaks with Qatari military police during a Spartan Patrol in at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Jan. 17, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
VIRIN: 190117-F-AD344-0187C

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.

Soldiers atop large vehicles.
Rocket System
Qatari artillery saturation rocket system launchers stage for a joint live-fire exercise with U.S. forces at Umm Hawta, Qatar, April 3, 2019. The joint firing was part of Exercise Al Adheed 2019, hosted by the Qatari Emiri Land Forces.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Linsey Williams
VIRIN: 190403-Z-EZ001-1124C