Doha: The 5th Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue Session will kick off in Doha on Tuesday, and will be co-chaired by HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and HE US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The dialogue is expected to address 12 major issues within the framework of the bilateral cooperation in politics, economy, culture, education, energy, health, mediation and combating terrorism, namely: regional stability, defense cooperation, public health, counterterrorism, combating human trafficking, human rights, climate change, energy efficiency and independence, humanitarian assistance, strategic investments, economic cooperation, and cultural and educational exchanges.
The 5th Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue session is expected to result in announcing a number of partnerships, in addition to signing a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and letters of intent.
The strategic dialogue aims to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various fields and to develop exceptional bilateral relations that depend on common interests and mutual respect.
The 5th Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue Session will witness an exchange of views on regional issues. In this context, the State of Qatar will affirm its position on the need for a political solution to regional issues and respect for people's aspirations. It will also stress the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.
Qatar and the US have a strong economic partnership. The volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2021 amounted to about QR 18.4 billion, while the volume of trade between the two countries at the end of the Q3 of 2022 amounted to about QR 16.7 billion.
The dialogue is expected to be fruitful, covering a wide range of economic, security and military, investments, education, culture, human rights, and public health issues.
The trade file between Qatar and the US, strengthening military and defense relations between the two countries, and regional stability are the important files on the negotiating table during the strategic dialogue. Educational cooperation will also be discussed, and the possibility of increasing the number of Qatari students studying in the United States, contributing to strengthening relations between the two friendly people. Additionally, they will discuss regional issues of common concern, including, the issues of Afghanistan, Palestine, and the region.
In 2018, the first Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue Session in the US capital, Washington, discussed areas of partnership, including defense, combating terrorism and extremism, trade and investment, as well as political cooperation. Both the State of Qatar and the United States expressed their satisfaction with their bilateral relations, which were recently strengthened and expanded. This highlights their mutual commitment to the advancement of global peace and prosperity.
The US acknowledged the generous humanitarian role of the State of Qatar bilaterally and multilaterally through its work with various United Nations agencies, in support of the forcibly displaced population and assisting refugees, including millions of vulnerable groups such as young children and women. The US also acknowledged Qatar's progress and the commitments it made recently regarding combating human trafficking and advancing workers' rights. In this context, the two governments signed an MoU to continue progress in these areas.
The State of Qatar and the US signed various MoUs and letters of intent in the fields of bilateral trade, investment, and technology, welcoming the partnership of the United States Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) with the Ministry of Finance. Officials also signed a letter of intent on cooperation in cyber security and intelligent technology.
The two governments issued a joint declaration on security cooperation, affirming their joint commitment to promoting peace and stability and combating the scourge of terrorism.
The United States expressed its readiness to work jointly with Qatar, in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter to deter and confront external threats to the territorial integrity of Qatar.
The statement issued by the first edition of the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue Session affirmed that the State of Qatar and the US are committed to promoting bilateral trade, and welcomed the role of US companies in the development of Qatar, the Qatari investment in US companies, and jobs. Both countries recognized the importance of bilateral investment and reaffirmed their commitment to discussing bilateral investment frameworks that address tax policies and reduce regulatory hurdles.
The delegation of Qatar talked about the recent reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment in Qatar, including free trade zones, expansion of ownership for non-nationals, improvement of the banking system, and consolidation of the rule of law, including a dispute settlement mechanism.
The second edition of the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue continued in Doha in Jan. 2019, and both sides reviewed the strength of bilateral relations and the promotion of cooperation to achieve the common interests of both countries. The two sides also signed three memoranda of understanding and a letter of intent, and affirmed commitment to promoting trade and investment and growing bilateral trade relations, with Qatar stressing that the US is its largest import partner.
The two sides discussed regional security, including joint efforts to eliminate ISIS, find a permanent solution to conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen, political developments in Iraq, and efforts to settle the Palestinian issue.
An MoU was signed in the field of education to continue building and key partnerships in the fields of primary, secondary and higher education, teaching English and Arabic, advising students, encouraging academic exchange, and providing a wide range of study abroad options, to enable students to achieve their personal and professional goals. A letter of intent was also signed to enhance cultural understanding and relations between the two peoples in Qatar and the United States to promote mutual understanding, boost intercultural dialogue, support common values of tolerance and uphold the value of diversity.
The State of Qatar and the US affirmed the vital contribution that their defense partnership provides to the security and stability of the region, as this strong and lasting partnership is the key to success in combating terrorism and violent extremism. US officials also hailed the contributions of the State of Qatar in supporting the strategic US military presence in the State of Qatar under the US Central Command (USCENTCOM).
The US and the State of Qatar signed an MoU that allows greater coordination in the possible expansion of the Al Udeid Air Base, as the State of Qatar's finance offers contribute to enhancing the possibility of a more sustainable presence for the US, in addition to discussing the current Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program between the State of Qatar and the US with a value of $26 billion.
In the third session, the State of Qatar and the US, as major energy producers, stressed the importance of their joint efforts to create a transparent and competitive energy market, and support access to affordable and reliable energy in order to create a global energy market, for the benefit of consumers and producers.
The two sides affirmed their commitment to the joint declaration on security cooperation to promote peace and security and combat terrorism, which was signed between the two sides in the first strategic dialogue in Jan. 2018.
The fourth edition saw the two countries affirming their commitment to continue cooperation in implementing global programs specifically designed to support Member States and other stakeholders in combating terrorism to enhance support for the UN counter-terrorism operations, including the review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the UN Counter-Terrorism Reports, and to enhance coordination and coherence in the efforts of Member States to combat terrorism at the international level with the support of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact.
The two countries stressed the importance of securing major sporting events, promoting sport and its values as a tool to prevent violent extremism, and emphasized the importance of supporting victims of terrorism and establishing national coordination mechanisms between agencies.
The strategic dialogues are a quantum leap in the relations between the two countries, and reflect the level of solid and developed partnership between them in all fields, especially with the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them, and the classification of the State of Qatar as a major Non-NATO ally of the US. The close cooperation between the two countries in the bilateral, regional and international fields is evidence of the common will to advance relations to broader horizons.
The dialogues also express the concept of joint coordination towards regional and global issues, and the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the fields of health, humanitarian aid, international development, human rights, regional cooperation, climate change, as well as trade, investment, culture and education.
It is hoped that the outcomes of the fifth session of the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue will contribute to bolstering long-term cooperation, including continuous coordination to establish peace and stability in the region.