US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Meets with Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani, Amir Qatar

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, LLOYD J. AUSTIN, III: It's a pleasure to see you again and an honor to welcome you to the Pentagon.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Meets with Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani, Amir Qatar

Let me start by saying that the U.S. defense alliance with Qatar is strong and serves as a foundation for our strategic relationship. Although our relationship is very strong, the U.S. remains committed to strengthening it. It is a great honor to see that Qatar continues to host American troops. This allows the United States of America to support a variety of crucial missions in the region.

I also want to thank Your Highness for all the Qatari support of the United States in Afghanistan. Without your support at Camp As Sayliyah, Al Udeid, we couldn't have evacuated more that 124,000 Afghans. To help them find a new start, you welcomed them with open arms. Qatar's actions have saved thousands of lives, as I stated in Doha last September. Your efforts have allowed us to keep Kabul Airport open. Your planes flew out people who wanted a better future after our last C-17s left. Your Highness, you have been a reliable partner and trusted leader.

We are now seeing an increase in threats from terrorists, unmanned aerial system attacks, and missiles to the region. So I am focusing on a new era in partnership where we address shared threats through multilateral efforts, and where operations are more interconnected. I believe this cooperation will help us strengthen our defense relations with Qatari partners. And I also know that the United States and Qatar stand together to ensure security and stability within the region. We share the same goals: We want to end conflicts, provide humanitarian aid to those in need, as well as de-escalate tensions.

Thank you, Your Highness, for being here again. I look forward to our conversation.

AMIR TAMIM HAMAD AL-THANI: Good morning everyone. My dear friend, Secretary for Defense, Mr. Austin, thank you so much. It's a pleasure to meet you all this morning.

The United States and Qatar have a strong defense partnership that has been in place for many years. We are delighted to be hosting Al Udeid Base which houses more than 10,000 troops from the Middle East.

We were honored and proud to assist in the evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan last summer. This partnership demonstrated our closeness and showed how we can collaborate. We are proud of our great cooperation. This year, we will host the World Cup. We thank you for your help in securing this World Cup.

We will continue to work together to bring stability and security to the region. I am confident that with our close partnership and great relationship, this will be possible. That was evident in Afghanistan. There is still much to do in Afghanistan. We are committed to the betterment of Afghanistan's people.

It's a pleasure to be here with you today. There are many things on our agenda. We are grateful for your hospitality.