Qatar’s emir meets Trump to discuss economy and security

Meeting comes amid soaring tensions between Iran and the US and an ongoing regional blockade against Qatar.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is meeting United States President Donald Trump inWashington, DC, to discuss regional security in the Gulf and mutual economic ties, among other issues.

The emir’s visit on Tuesday comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US and an ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar by its Arab neighbours.

The two leaders are scheduled to participate in an afternoon of meetings that will include a working lunch and the signing of a deal for Qatar to purchase Boeing jets.

Trump told reporters in the morning that Qatar is investing heavily in the US, buying military equipment and commercial planes.

Tuesday’s meeting takes place a day after the emir held talks with acting US Defence Secretary Mark Esper at the Pentagon and attended a dinner banquet hosted by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, where Trump was also present.

In a speech during the dinner, Qatar’s emir said that his visit to the US reaffirmed the ideals the two countries shared and celebrated their mutual economic partnership.

“Our nations share a commitment to human capital, working to create resilient, knowledge-based economies with an emphasis on education, openness and opportunity for all,” he said.

“Unfortunately, there are some in my region who do not share our beliefs. In today’s world, at times, alliances have to be made with necessary partners, and certain allies are not actually friends,” he also said, in an apparent reference to his country’s Arab neighbours that are part of the blockade.

“But with the United States and Qatar, we are partners, allies and friends. We continue our mutual commitment to remain closely invested in both military and security alliance.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt have enforced a sea, air and land blockade against Qatar since June 2017.

The blockading countries have accused Doha of having strong ties with Iran, interfering in regional affairs and supporting “terrorism”. Qatar has strongly denied these allegations.

Majed al-Ansari, a professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the US wants to keep pushing for a resolution to the Gulf dispute without any further escalation in the region.

“What the White House would like to do now is not to get tangled in the GCC crisis and give every player in the game the correct amount of interest in the region,” he said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

‘Long-time friends’

Trump said at Monday’s dinner that his friendship with the emir predated his own entry into politics.

Source: AlJazeera