*'Several agreements to be signed; military, economic ties to be strengthened'
The upcoming visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the United States this month will be a 'big one' with several agreements expected to be announced, stated a top US official on Wednesday.
“We anticipate the visit- announced by the White House- is going to be a very big one. His Highness the Amir will meet with President Donald Trump and many senior officials of the US government.We expect that he will be meeting some important members of the US Congress too. Many agreements are expected to be announced during the visit,” said William Grant, Chargé d’Affaires and Chief of Mission, US embassy, at a press conference.
“The visit will build on the longstanding relationship between the United States and Qatar and further strengthen the already substantial economic and security ties. The two leaders are expected to discuss regional developments, bilateral security cooperation and counter-terrorism issues,” Grant told the media.
The US envoy noted that the US and Qatar have a strong relationship in many fields.
“The US-Qatar relationship has reached historic heights. Qatar has been a great friend and ally to the US in many ways and great things will be happening in the relationship. During the meetings, the two sides will discuss US-Qatar relations as well as broader threats to the region,” explained Grant.
The overall trade volume between both the countries in 2018 was $6bn. Over 120 American companies operate in Qatar, and US firms are involved in major projects associated with road, rail, seaport, airport, and stadiums across Qatar.
According to the official, the US and Qatar have a long-standing and diverse military relationship that is growing every time. “The US and Qatar enjoy a long-standing and multi-faceted military relationship. And that relationship is based on shared goals: combat terrorism, promote regional security and stability, and combat criminal threats in the Gulf,” described the official.
“The US and Qatar also work together to combat transnational threats including human trafficking, money laundering, and combating terrorism financing. The US-Qatar relationship is more than just a military or law enforcement partnership as we both enjoy a well-balanced and diverse relationship,” he pointed out.
The diplomat said that the trade and commerce relationship between Qatar and the US is booming. “It has always been strong and it’s really getting very strong now. During the visit, we expect both leaders to announce some major commercial deals,” he stated.
The Charge d’ Affaires highlighted the recently-announced partnership between Qatar Petroleum and Chevron Phillips Chemical to develop the region’s largest ethane cracker in Ras Laffan as an example of the growing relationship between the countries.
The official also focused on the growing people-to-people ties between Qatar and the US. “Thousands of students from Qatar have been pursuing higher education at more than 3,000 colleges and universities in the US. We have the branch campuses of six top US universities in Qatar. We have lots of people from Qatar travelling to the US and several tourists from the US have started visiting Qatar in the recent years. Large number of Americans are expected to visit Qatar during FIFA World Cup in 2022,” he noted.
As for the Gulf Crisis, Grant said that The United States believes that resolving the dispute is in the interest of all parties in the region as well as the US. “The US Secretary of State had said when he visited Qatar last January that the Gulf Crisis has lasted far too long and it should be resolved sooner. We have no immediate meeting scheduled with the GCC heads but it can be held at the appropriate time,” added the official.