The ongoing blockade against Qatar is hurting the US interests in the region, the US embassy chief of mission and charge d’affaires William Grant has told a seminar at Qatar University (QU).
Responding to a question about the blockade, Grant said: “Our position is very clear and we have stated many times, we are opposed to this dispute. We believe it is hurting our interests in this region. We’re not happy with the dispute, we want to see it end.”
The seminar was on “The United States’ Position on Issues Related to the Middle East.” Grant conducted the session followed by a discussion with the audience.
The seminar was attended by QU president Dr Hassan al-Derham, along with other senior representatives from the University, students, faculty and staff.
Grant began by providing an introduction to the US government saying, “We value the opportunity to explain our country’s policy, in our own voice, to the people of Qatar, and people of all backgrounds. The best way to understand other nations is through dialogue.”
He briefly explained the role of the US embassy in four basic functions: Establishing relationships with key people from the host country; providing certain services such as visas, services to American citizens living or visiting Qatar, and helping companies seeking to do business in Qatar; keeping the government informed about key developments in Qatar, such as the energy business, which is important to Qatar and has a major impact on the world energy market; and finally informing people from the government and informing regular citizens about the US policies and interests through various ways such as through seminars and social media, which is increasingly popular in the region.
Grant also talked about the structure of the US government explaining that the US has a very active democracy and they have three branches of government - the judicial, executive, and legislative. The executive and legislative branches are called co-equal governments.
The chief of mission also explained his next point saying, “Any country, when determining foreign policy, has to determine its interests and the other countries interests. Different countries of the world can have various interests such as energy, human trafficking, counterterrorism efforts, and much more.” He explained that the US has relations with most countries, and established relations with Qatar soon after it declared independence.
Grant explained that the US has a very active role in the Middle East region and views this region as very important. He noted that relations between Qatar and the US are “very good and very strong” and “the co-operation we have with Qatar is very wide.” He says, “It’s much more than just defence,” saying Qatar and the US co-operate in terms of labour matters, education, energy, terrorism control, trade and investment, security for the World Cup and law enforcement.
He also noted that Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani visited the Munich Security Conference earlier this week and praised Washington’s efforts towards the current Gulf crisis.
In concluding the seminar, the floor was opened to question and answer from audience members, where students, faculty and staff alike asked various questions related to the US foreign policy.