Pentagon chief, Qatari Minister discuss defense, security cooperation

WASHINGTON, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper met Wednesday with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah. Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that they discussed a broad range of defense and security issues, including “Qatar’s pledge to upgrade and modernize the infrastructure on Al Udeid Air Base.” They also noted “the need for increased partnership in countering threats to regional economic infrastructure and the free flow of commerce throughout the region.” For his part, Esper highlighted “the growing impact of Qatari cooperation with US Central Command and gave Dr. Khalid thanks for Qatar’s continued hospitality in hosting thousands of US forces.” “Both parties agreed that US presence in the Gulf region provides stability and security for the free flow of commerce,” the statement added.

Esper also affirmed the Pentagon’s commitment “to continued participation with Qatar on several initiatives involving military-to-military exchanges and improvements to interoperability.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency