September 22, 2021

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Secretary Blinken Travels to Qatar to Advance Bilateral Ties

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Office of the Spokesperson

“Qatar is a vital partner for the United States in so many different areas:  of course, hosting our service members, a strong economic partner; but beyond that, really a partner in trying to advance peace, trying to advance progress in the region, and of course, to stand against terrorism.”

– Secretary Antony J. Blinken, July 22, 2021

Secretary Anthony J. Blinken will travel September 6-8, 2021 to Doha, Qatar, where he will meet with Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and other senior Qatari officials to discuss our efforts on Afghanistan and other matters important to a strong bilateral relationship. 

A Partner in Advancing Peace and Security 

  • We are thankful for Qatar’s close collaboration on Afghanistan and its indispensable support in facilitating the transit of U.S. citizens, Embassy Kabul personnel, at-risk Afghans, and other evacuees from Afghanistan through Qatar.  As the first and largest evacuation site for transit in the world, Qatar has been at the forefront of our efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan to safety.  
  • Qatar is one of the United States’ closest military allies in the region. Al-Udeid Air Base is home to the Combined Air Operation Center, which hosts 18 nations and is responsible for all Coalition air operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.   
  • Qatar is an active partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and countering violent extremism, particularly through its support to the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).   
  • The United States greatly appreciates Qatar’s ongoing support to the Palestinian people and to stabilize The restarting of economic support to the people of Gaza, in coordination with the UN, is a very welcome development.  
  • Qatar has demonstrated its commitment to combating the financing of terrorism through efforts to comply with U.S. and international sanctions, as well as its participation in multilateral fora.

Strength in Trade, Education, and Culture   

  • The U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, last held in September 2020, highlighted our two countries’ close cooperation on the issues that are central to the bilateral relationship and included several new educational, scientific, and cultural initiatives.  This year, our two governments and other relevant stakeholders are facilitating the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.   
  • Our on going high-level discussions address trade and investment, regional security and defense cooperation, law enforcement and counterterrorism, combatting human trafficking, and enhancing civil society.  
  • The United States is Qatar’s largest import partner and single largest foreign direct investor.  Two-way trade totaled more than $4.6 billion in 2020.  S. exports to Qatar reached $3.4 billion in 2020.    
  • Since 2015,Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), has invested more than $30 billion in the United States, with planned investment exceeding $45 billion in total.  Over half of this concentrated in the real estate and infrastructure sectors. 

Progress on Human Rights 

  • The United States recognizes Qatar’s significant progress towards greater labor rights and combating human trafficking but recognizes there is more work to be done.   
  • Qatar has inaugurated a humanitarian care shelter and abolished exit permits for nearly 95 percent of all workers, including domestic workers.  
  • In 2020, under the framework of the U.S.-Qatar Anti-Trafficking MOU signed in 2018 and the U.S.-Qatar Labor MOU signed during the 2019 Strategic Dialogue, Qatar and the United States implemented joint initiatives to build capacity, raise awareness, and promote labor rights.  
  • The Department also recently recognized Qatari Undersecretary of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs Mohammed al-Obaidly as a 2021 TIP Report Hero for his personal leadership in spurring needed reforms to the sponsorship system and addressing ongoing labor abuses in Qatar. 

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