US, Qatar discuss expanding Al-Udeid military base

US, Qatar discuss expanding Al-Udeid military base
2 min read
16 November, 2018
The United States and Qatar have discussed expanding a military base in the Gulf State, the State Department has announced.
Last month, the US said it would appoint an ambassador to Qatar [Getty]
The United States and Qatar have discussed expanding a military base in the Gulf State, the State Department has announced.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah on Wednesday in Washington.

Secretary of State Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the senior officials discussed "working toward a Middle East Strategic Alliance" and "the expansion of Al-Udeid Airbase."

Qatar is home to America's largest military base in the Gulf, Al-Udeid, where some 10,000 US troops are stationed and from which Washington deploys warplanes used in the battle against the Islamic State group.

Last month, the US said it would appoint an ambassador to Qatar, after a 16-month gap during which Doha has been at the centre of a regional diplomatic crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha on June 5, 2017 over allegations it seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and supports radical Islamist groups.

Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change. The four countries continue an embargo of the small gas-rich Gulf state, which on Thursday marked 500 days.

In the beginning, Trump appeared to back Saudi Arabia's diplomatic stand-off with Doha - especially over the issue of terror funding.

However, in a White House meeting in April with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the US president emphasised strategic ties between the two countries.