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Thefirst US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, which took place in Washington, DCyesterday, marks an important moment in the relationship between the twocountries, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State forDefence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah said.

Speaking atthe opening session of the inaugural US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue inWashington, DC, in the presence of US Secretary of State Rex Tillersonand Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, HE al-Attiyah said: “Qatar and theUnited States have long enjoyed special relationship, a relationshipbuilt on a mutual respect and trust. We have stood together many time inthe face of tyranny, fought those who defied the rule of law, andwalked jointly to confront the complex and expensive challenges thatface our region today,” he said. “This meeting marks an importantmoment in our relationship with our friend here in the US. We lookforward to building on the existing infrastructure of our historic andstrategic relationship through exploring a way in which we are able toexpand our bilateral co-ordination and further our efforts to realisingour shared objective of peace, security and prosperity for our nationand beyond,” the minister noted. Qatar never waived its commitmentto stand with friends and allies, “especially when they needed us themost”, he said. “The Al Udeid Air Base, which currently hosts 11,000 ofyour brave men and women, has been at the epicentre of the global fightagainst terrorism. Qatar has spared no effort in increasing thereadiness and efficiency of Al Udeid operations by investing billions ofdollars in the direct infrastructure and maintenance of the strategicair base.” “We are looking toward the future of our militarypartnership with the United States as we plan for the year ahead. Qatarand its trusted ally have reaffirmed their commitment towards thestability and prosperity of both nations. The recent purchase of F-15sfighter jets signals a new era of co-operation. This strategic bird willassure our readiness to protect our own border and aid our alliesfurther in our collective fight towards peace and stability,” hecontinued, stressing the creation of “tens of thousands of direct andindirect jobs”. He also referred to the 2040 vision for military co-operation and plans to expand the Al Udeid base. Referringto the Gulf crisis, he said: “To protect the sovereignty and fight forits independence, the brave people of Qatar stood firmly with theirleader in face of mounting hostility directed towards their country.They refused to be manipulated or used as a pawn in an arbitrary andpointless conflict. We are here today to work for these men and women,and for the men and women of your great country, to explore economic,social, military and social opportunities that would take our effortstoward prosperity and stability.”