Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani At a Signing Ceremony and Joint Press Availability For the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue

Washington DC.    Thank you.  It is a great pleasure to welcome my friend, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Al-Thani, here to Washington, and all members of the Qatari delegation.  We’re opening the fourth Qatar-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, and great appreciation to all of our colleagues for the work that’s already gone into this, and the work that is going to go into this in the hours ahead.

I think if you look, Mohammed, at the diversity of issues that we’ll cover, it reflects a powerful reality, which is the growing strength of the relationship between the United States and Qatar, spanning shared security and economic interests, cooperation on many regional challenges, and growing people-to-people ties, among other things.

The events in Afghanistan over the past several months have reinforced that partnership, including on the most sensitive and urgent issues.  I had the opportunity to thank Amir Tamim in person for Qatar’s extraordinary generosity, support, and cooperation when I traveled to Doha in September and witnessed firsthand the massive joint operation to evacuate Americans, foreign nationals, and Afghans who were our partners over our 20-year mission in Afghanistan.  Of the more than 124,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan in August, roughly half transited through Qatar.  And that work continues.

Since that time, Qatar has facilitated and funded an additional 15 flights and counting out of Afghanistan, enabling hundreds of U.S. citizens, thousands of others to leave the country.  And the government and Qatar Airways continue to support charter flights out of Afghanistan for U.S. Special Immigrant Visa holders and others.

On that note, I can confirm that as of November 10th, all U.S. citizens who have requested assistance from the United States Government to depart Afghanistan and who have – we have identified as prepared to depart and having the necessary travel documents have been offered an opportunity to do so.  That includes more than 300 – 380, excuse me – American citizens, and more than 280 legal permanent residents whose departure we have already facilitated.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s support

for operations at the airport in Kabul have allowed humanitarian assistance from the international community to flow into Afghanistan, including several flights from the World Health Organization carrying lifesaving medical supplies for over 2 million Afghans.

Today, we’re signing two new agreements that reflect our deepening collaboration on Afghanistan.  The first establishes Qatar as the United States’ protecting power in Afghanistan.  Qatar will establish a U.S. interests section within its embassy in Afghanistan to provide certain consular services and monitor the condition and security of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan.

The second agreement formalizes our partnership with Qatar to facilitate the travel of Afghans with U.S. Special Immigrant Visas – a role that it’s already been playing in many instances – and serve as a transit point for eligible Afghans as they complete their application process.

Mohammed, let me again say how grateful we are for your leadership, your support on Afghanistan, but also to note that our partnership is much broader than that, and that’s reflected in the very good conversation that we just had, the regular conversations that we have on many issues of common concern in the region and beyond.

Qatar is a crucial partner in promoting regional stability, not only hosting U.S. troops who provide security across the region but also providing significant economic and humanitarian assistance to people in dire situations.  Over the last decade, Qatar has donated more than $1.3 billion in aid to Palestinians in Gaza and provided considerable support to the Yemeni people, including $100 million pledged in August and another 90 million the Emir donated just this week through the World Food Program.

We’re also working together on challenging issues like labor rights

We stand ready to support Qatar in ensuring the full implementation of its labor reforms, including ensuring that all workers in the country are covered by the new minimum wage law, and are able to change employers and leave the country without certificates and permits.

So we’re now preparing to mark the 30th[i] anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our nations, and I think it’s fair to say that the Qatar-U.S. relationship has never been stronger, and we believe it will only grow deeper and more diverse to the benefit of our people and so many others.

And with that, over to you, Foreign Minister Al-Thani, Mohammed.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AL-THANI:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  Good morning, everybody.  First of all, thank you for the hospitality and warm welcome, Tony.  I wish also to thank both delegations for their work and efforts in preparing this dialogue.  The fourth Qatar-U.S. Strategic Dialogue represents another milestone in our historically strong partnership – the flourishing ties between our two countries enabled by the mutual commitments of our two governments demonstrated not only by wide scope of our cooperation but also by the deep friendship between our nations.

We are partners in defense, security, investments, education, and energy.  And we are global leaders in the fight against terrorism.  This is possible because our friendship spans decades across institutions.

This year, our friendship became even closer when Qatar worked closely with the United States and our international partners around the clock to evacuate more than 60,000 individuals from Afghanistan, including American citizens, female students from across the country, Afghan employees and their families, and journalists from around the world.  Qatar was honored to be in a trusted position to step up and rescue so many people, and we will continue to be an instrument of peace and stability in the region.

There is still much to be done in Afghanistan, and Qatar remains committed to continue the necessary work alongside with the United States and partners around the world.

We are dedicated to contributing to the stability of Afghanistan and the safety and well-being of the Afghan people.  The Strategic Dialogue today will discuss issues of mutual interest and will reaffirm our determination to deepen our cooperation in various fields, including strengthening our defense and security partnership.

Another pillar of our relationship is our commercial partnership.  Qatar has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. economy.  These investments translates into tens of thousands of job across the U.S., and our economic partnership exceeded $200 billion of trade and investments between our two countries

As the leading producer of natural gas, Qatar serves an important role in helping countries meet their energy needs while firmly believing in the importance of emission reduction measures through our global investments and green innovation and technologies alongside the Qatar environmental strategy.  Our investments reflect our commitment to care for environment.  As of 2021, more than half of Qatar Investment Authority investments in power generation projects are zero emissions.

Mr. Secretary, I am grateful for our discussion today and for all your efforts.  I look forward to expanding this extraordinary partnership.  Today our two nations are connected by deep political, cultural, military, and financial bonds, and I believe our greatest opportunities are still ahead of us.

The year 2022 will be a special one.  It marks the 50th anniversary of our alliances between the United States and Qatar, and in November of next year Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup, which will be the first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup.  This year we also celebrate Qatar-U.S. Year of Culture, which contain a number of events celebrating our long friendly relationship across the years.

I look forward welcoming you and your team in Doha for the fifth Strategic Dialogue, and I personally invite you to watch the World Cup match together.  So this is a good excuse for you to come to Doha, and I wish your U.S. team the best of luck tonight in Cincinnati, so you will visit us in Doha to watch it again there then.  Thank you.

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