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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Qatari delegation to head to Washington for US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue


Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will be in Washington for the fourth annual dialogue on Friday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will welcome a delegation from Qatar led by foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Washington, D.C. this week for the fourth annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue.

The dialogue will be held on 12 November and will bring together the Qatari delegation with Blinken, as well as officials from the National Security Council, USAID, the Department of Defence, and other agencies.

The parties are set to discuss issues of mutual concern, including regional stability, defence cooperation, public health, counterterrorism, combatting human trafficking, human rights, climate change, energy efficiency, energy independence, humanitarian aid, economic cooperation, and cultural and educational exchanges, an official press statement said.

Qatar-US trade reached $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, making Washington one of Doha’s most important trade partners.

According to Qatar News Agency [QNA], bilateral trade between the two countries currently stands at $5.4 billion.

The US is Qatar’s largest foreign direct investor and its largest source of imports, with over 120 American companies operating in the Gulf state.

Between 2018 and 2019 alone, US exports to Qatar witnessed a 47.7% increase, amounting to $6.5 billion in 2019.

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Qatar and the US established diplomatic ties in 1972, marking the beginning of a strategic alliance between the two countries in numerous global issues and fields.

The Gulf state also hosts the Al-Udeid Air Base, the biggest American military outpost in the Middle East and North Africa region, and CENTCOM Forward Headquarters, as well as the As Sayliyah Army Base.

At least 10,000 American military service members are based in Al-Udeid.

The military base’s location in Qatar has played an important role in recent months, especially since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on 15 August.

Qatar has managed to facilitate the evacuation tens of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from Kabul, some of which have been placed in the Al-Udeid Air Base to await the processing of their Special Immigrant Visas [SIVs].

In the aftermath of the US and NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington also moved its embassy from Kabul to Doha to allow diplomats to carry out diplomatic operations outside of the country.

Meanwhile, the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture is currently underway, bringing both countries together in a range of events to exchange and learn more about the two cultures.

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