Qatari emir, Trump to meet in April to boost ties

Published 01.03.2018 21:18

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will attend an April meeting in Washington with the U.S. President Donald Trump, the Qatari government announced yesterday.

During a recent phone call between the two leaders, they reviewed the strategic relations in order to enhance the American-Qatari partnership.

"The leaders agreed on the importance of regional cooperation and a united Gulf Cooperation Council to mitigate regional threats and ensure the region's economic prosperity," a White House release said, as reported by al-Jazeera.

On Wednesday, Qatari Military Chief of Staff Ghanim bin Shaheen al-Ghanim met with Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, in Doha. According to a statement released after the meeting by the Qatari military, the two men discussed means of enhancing bilateral relations.

Roughly 11,000 U.S. military personnel, mostly from the U.S. Air Force, are currently stationed at Qatar's al-Udeid Airbase, which is located some 30 kilometers southwest of Doha. Used to fly sorties into Iraq and Syria, al-Udeid is regarded as the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain all abruptly severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. The four threatened to impose further sanctions on Doha if it failed to accept a long list of demands, including the closure of Qatar-funded Al Jazeera television.

U.S. President Donald Trump also accused Doha of funding militant groups, saying that Qatar had historically supported terrorism "at a very high level." The Qatari government has denied the accusations, blasting the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law.

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